Ben Thanh Viet-Thai Restaurant
36 Northfield Dr. West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6A1
10 Pinebush Rd.
Ben Thanh just opened one store in Waterloo several months ago. It was such a relief for us...no more driving down to Cambridge just for a bowl of soup noodles. They used to have a store in Kitchener but it was closed down due to the expansion of Kitchener Farmer's Market.
I've been to that Kitchener store so many times but most of time I ordered their soup noodles. The soup is delicious and it is the fastest item; it seemed to take forever if I ordered something else. However, this "rule" doesn't apply to the Waterloo store. Almost every time we go, we get slow service; there was always on item which arrived much later than others. Since I like the soup noodles from this restaurant the most, I don't really possess much bargaining power. Luckily the service was ok during our last visit.
Here are the items we normally have (List is arranged based on how frequent we order that specific item):
#1 (106) Beef, Tendon. Frank Brisket Rice Noodle Soup: they slow cook the tendon and brisket so they are extremely flavorful, tender yet not slimy. When I go to a restaurant, I like to order things I can't make at home.
#2 (501) 2-Spring Rolls (deep fried): the spring rolls are crispy outside and juicy inside. What makes it different from those in other Chinese restaurant is the fish sauce dressing.
#3 (030) Sour Sop Neclor Shake: the sourness is actually quite minimal. J likes to sip on it during summer time. I'll share some if he orders it.
#5 (422) Pad-thai (Fried Rice Noodle w/ Mixed Seafood): I would have ordered this item more if not because I waited for good 30+ min several times (in the previous Kitchener store). The seafood portion is generous, the sauce is interesting. I could never figure out what goes in it; I could taste ketchup, chili pepper, soy sauce...that is about it.
#6 (303) Grilled Pork Balls, BBQ Pork, Spring Roll with Vermicelli: I don't order this item very often. I am not a big fan of grilled pork balls to begin with. I used to like BBQ Pork prepared in Vietnamese style but I've had better version than what is offered at Ben Thanh. I'll just order the spring rolls alone if I crave for some. (It's ranked #2 on my list )
We don't normally have this item but I feel I should recommend this:
(101) Special BEN THANH Beef Noodle Soup
It is like a treasure hunt. Sometimes you can find beef tribe, brisket and other miscellaneous beef parts in the soup. I know exactly what parts I like (thinly sliced beef, brisket and tendon) so I rarely order this item.
Will you appreciate their soup noodles more if I tell you how much effort it takes to get the soup right? J's mom gave us the family recipe for making the Vietnamese soup noodles. It is chicken-based. To make a bowl of decent soup noodles, we will need to prepare the stock - chicken bones, chicken, onion, celery, carrots and other spicies. babysit the soup for at least 2 hours (let it simmer and skim of all the impurities). Luckily, J's mom makes awesome soup noodles (chicken stock).
By the way, if you want to go to the Cambridge store, the parking spots are a premium. We tried to park in the parking lot for the box stores (Michael's, for example) then walk over. It is actually faster than finding for a parking spot. Don't blame me if you get tickets though.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Ben Thanh Viet-Thai Restaurant