Prince George


1778 Hwy 97 South
Prince George, BC  V2L 5L3

250-564-2255

M-W: 11a – 9p/Th-Sa: 11a – 10p/Su & Holidays: 4p – 9p

ThanhVu on Urbanspoon

September 3, 2011

In the seven years since we’ve moved up here, this past Labour Day was the first long-weekend *ever* that we’re not driving down to the Coast.  Kinda blows the mind how much driving we do!  However, that being said we still needed to go back-to-school clothes shopping for Mr O, so we decided to make a drive up to Prince George and make a daytrip out of it.

Although not as long of a drive as it is driving into Vancouver, it’s still a bit of distance and by the time we were within the city limits of Prince George, I was more than ready for some lunch.  Situated along the highway on the right-hand side as you’re driving into the city, next to the Four Points by Sheraton hotel, is the Thanh Vu Restaurant.  Now that’s not a name you’d see every day in Williams Lake!  It serves Vietnamese cuisine (coincidentally something I’ve been craving for awhile now.)

We get there after the lunch rush but there were still quite a few tables occupied.  We were seated in a booth, which was separated by glass partitions so you can clearly see over your companion’s shoulder who is sitting in the next booth.  A bit awkward but then you learn to keep eye contact with those you’re sitting with.

The menu is a little overwhelming at first because there’s just so much STUFF on it.  Plus you have adjust to reading the English menu after the preceding Vietnamese words.  There are lots of different types of rolls and soups to choose from, and the main dishes are broken down into meat categories, which include: beef, chicken, pork, seafood and tofu.  Because of its geographical proximity, Vietnamese cuisine has a lot of influence from Chinese, Indian, Thai and French cuisines (it being a former French colony and all).  So it’s not surprising to find wonton soups next to the curries next to the baguettes!  Today, Mr O ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee and the Chicken Lemon Grass, and I ordered the Spring Rolls with rice noodles.

...the beginnings of something special...

Soft Vietnamese music floated in the background as we waited for our food, and strings of Vietnamese conversation could be heard from the kitchen staff every time that door was swung open.  On one of these occasions the waitress brought over Mr O’s coffee.  Iced coffee is a highly favoured beverage amongst the Vietnamese.  The espresso-strength coffee grinds are pressed into this metal contraption which sits over a glass and hot water is poured in to start to brewing process.  At the bottom of the glass is a layer of sweetened condensed milk, probably about half an inch thick, and it’s neat to watch the black coffee slowly drip onto the creamy surface.  And I’m not kidding about the slow part… it’s not unheard of for the coffee to be finally finished dripping just as you’re finishing up your meal.

Soon after, our food arrives.  Mr O’s chicken was nothing like the grilled lemon grass version we were accustomed to eating down south.  The version here is more akin to a light curry, infused with coconut milk, lemon grass and chili peppers.  The chicken breast is sliced and there is a generous amount of it in the dish, along with sliced onions and scallions.  The coconut actually went really well with the lemon grass, and the curry and chilli peppers did not overwhelm the dish at all.  It’s accompanied by a large bowl of rice which soaks up the sauce beautifully.

...lemon grass curry...

A Vietnamese spring roll is different from a Chinese one in that there are hardly any vegetables in it.  It’s made up mostly of ground pork, which is normally mixed with cellophane noodles, wood-ear mushrooms, grated carrots, egg and various spices.  And the truly authentic stuff is wrapped with rice paper instead of a wheat-based wrapper.  It’s more of a pain to prepare this way, but by using the rice paper the rice content puffs up nicely in the hot oil when it’s deep-fried which gives it a lighter and crispier exterior.

...springroll heaven...

...pork and nuoc mam together at last...

These spring rolls are one of the best I’ve ever had (not including Momma’s of course!) and I love to drown them in the ‘nuoc mam’, which is a sweet and salty concoction made of water, vinegar, sugar and fish sauce.  Yes, I said it… fish sauce… fermented fish extract.  Scrunching your faces is only gonna hurt my feelings so stop that, and I absolutely urge you to try it if the opportunity ever arises.  I used to drown all my food in that stuff as a kid and I knew I wasn’t the only one doing that growing up!

So as I was saying, the spring rolls is served with a heaping pile of vermicelli rice noodles, which have been sprinkled over with pickled carrots and sliced scallions.  Usually you’d find bean sprouts, slivered cucumber and chopped roasted nuts with the noodles too, but not today in Prince George.  And did I pour some of my nuoc mam over my noodles?  Oh you bet I did… I even had to ask the waitress for an extra bowl of the stuff!

We ate and ate until our bellies were stuffed and we still had leftovers.  So we had our food packed away into a doggie bag and by around this point Mr O’s coffee was finally ready for us.  The neatest part about the drink is when you swirl the condensed milk into the coffee and you watch the liquid go from pure black to a nice chocolaty colour.  As kids my siblings and I used to always fight over who go to stir Poppa’s coffee.  So naturally, Mr O let me do the honours today.

Once everything is mixed up nice, a glass full of ice is brought to you and the whole thing is poured right in.  You’d think the milk and melted ice would mellow out the drink, but it’s still crazy strong and one sip is enough to coat the whole mouth; which is perfect if you happen to be eating something spicy, or just happen to crave caffeine like Mr O does.

...coffee pre-iced...

...iced magic...

We didn’t see any signs of a dessert menu, but that was fine because we were much too full for it anyways.  Now we have a whole afternoon of shopping ahead of us to look forward to, which is always better when it’s done on a full stomach.

770 Brunswick  Street
Prince  George, BC  V2L 2C2

250-563-0121

Su-Th: 5pm-9pm / F-Sa: 5pm-10pm

Shogun Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Jun 26, 2010

The 2nd International Fascia Research Congress took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  The replay of the event took place in Prince George, BC…. Can we guess which one I got to attend?

 

Well, to my disappointment, it wasn’t the one in Amsterdam.  But the replay was very informative.  (Yes yes, useless information I know… but I’m trying to build up a climax here!)  Friday evening I drove up here with Miss SH and Miss CD.  Miss CD and I stayed at the Coast Inn of the North.  Two of the more well-known restaurants in town are located within the hotel, one of which is Shogun, a Japanese steak house.

We made reservations to have dinner there on the Saturday night and was joined by Miss SH’s boyfriend, B.  Because Shogun was known for it’s teppanyaki, I had asked to be seated grill-side so that I could get the full on experience of teppan style cooking.

I ordered a 2-pc spring salmon nigiri starter and split an order of california rolls with Miss CD.  For my main course I asked for the Ozeki combo, which included a striploin steak, cooked to order, and prawns (shrimp and scallops were my other seafood options).  Miss CD ordered the Kobe combo, which featured a lobster tail, and scallops.  B originally wanted to order the beef tenderloin and seafood donburi, but was talked out of it by the waitress and changed his order to the Ozeki combo as well.  Miss SH wanted nothing to do with cooked food and asked for the sashimi boat dinner, which included fresh pieces of tuna, Hawaiian tuna, salmon, surf clam, red snapper, octopus, mackerel, and sweet raw shrimp.

 

...here fishy fishy...

The salmon on my nigiri was a deep red colour, which makes me think the fish is wild and not farmed.  It was tasty fish, but the rice seemed bland and broke apart far too easily when I tried to pick them up with my chopsticks (yes, I know… it’s *supposed* to be finger food!).  When I moved on to the california rolls, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had REAL crab in it.  But it didn’t taste as good as I had hoped… the taste of crab was a bit more overwhelming that I had anticipated.  I’d probably wouldn’t order it again, but I’ve never been a huge fan of california rolls in the first place.

 

...sake nigiri for one...

...california rolls for two...

The Shogun salad is included in the dinner and it was a simple green garden salad served with a ginger dressing.  It was a lovely dressing but there was too much of it on my plate and after several minutes the greens were quite drenched in it.  We actually all agreed that it was too much dressing for one plate.

 

...greens and ginger...

The main attraction was the teppanyaki, of course.  The chef was quite funny in a corny kind of way and poked fun at my camera skills in a good natured manner… (the lights were DIM! and I forgot my tripod! and flash didn’t make the food look appetizing at all!)  Alright… enough with  my excuses!

The first burst of flames was HOT… it reminded me of the Back Draft show down at the Universal Studios.  The seafood was the first thing cooked and dang did his hands move fast!  I tried… REALLY tried to take pictures but those crazy limbs were just too fast for my camera!

 

...swoosh!...

 

...where are the hands?!...

My prawns came back succulent.  There are two types of dipping sauces to choose from: a mustard sauce and a ginger sauce.  I couldn’t decide which to dip my prawns in because both were very nice… so I alternated!

As we noshed, Miss CD’s lobster and our steak were thrown into the fire.  I had asked for my steak to be done medium-rare so it didn’t take too long before it was sitting on my plate.  Oh the meat was so tender and juicy… it was absolutely delicious!

 

...lovely steak...

By this point we were all approaching the stage where we were all stuffed to the gills, but who could resist the grilled veggies that came next?  A medley of bean sprouts, onions, zucchini, carrots, and asparagus was cooked with some soy sauce, and included a display which involved black lights and sesame seeds.  The kids will definitely like this part.

 

...onion volcano?...

...goes boom!...

As we filled in all the nooks and crannies of our bellies with the veggies, the chef ended the evening with a short and entertaining drumming routine.  All in all, the evening took about 1.5 hours.

Miss SH’s boat came with dessert, while ours didn’t, so we all sat back in our seats to digest while she had her ice cream.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday evening.  Next time… I’ll have to remember to not fill up on the rice!