While sitting in traffic at Main & 18th, I glanced over to notice a seriously eye-catching dining room. I didn’t recognize the space. But it seemed too beautiful not to know. The sign read, Anh + Chi.
itstodiefor.ca | May 6, 2016 | Erin Ireland
For 18 years, 3388 Main Street — the address I’d been admiring — had been home to Pho Hoang, an iconic Vietnamese restaurant run by Ly and Hoang Van Nguyen.
Their children, Amelie and Vincent, are the new owners of Anh + Chi and their mission is to honour their parents legacy on the very cement floor laid by their late father in 1996.
Another similarity between Pho Hoang and Anh + Chi is the head chef, their mother, and the many other kitchen staff members who’ve been with the family for 20 years. Aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters have also pitched in to help execute the vision, which took two years of hand-on planning and design, followed by seven months of construction.
“What warmed our hearts when walls and fixtures were coming down was learning that our dad had built the previous restaurant with the highest quality of materials, and affirmed his teaching to us that ‘when we do something – do it once, do it right’,” Amelie shared.
Pho Hoang regulars will recognize a handful of the Anh + Chi menu items, including the Veggie Pho, Lemongrass Chicken & Rice and Crisp Fried Spring Rolls. Lighter fare, like salads, fresh rolls and a family-style dinner menu are part of the new era. Try the Cay Me Salad Rolls with fried organic tofu, shredded coconut, fresh julienne vegetables and crunchy-roasted peanuts served with an addictive soy-based dipping sauce (I enjoyed them so much, I ordered two).
Amelie recommends the Bánh xèo, “a crispy savoury crêpe made of rice flour, coconut milk & turmeric – with your choice of prawn & pork or organic tofu & shiitake mushroom. Roll up your sleeves, grab some lettuce, fresh herbs and pack it with some crêpe – wrap it up and dip it in plenty of chili fish sauce or sweet soy.”
Anh + Chi also serves Vietnamese coffee, cocktails, beer (local and Asian) and a 100 per cent British Columbian wine list (bring your own bottle for a $20 corkage fee).
This delightful family-owned, community-minded eatery — whose patio will open by summer — is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 11 p.m. for dinner.