You guys, I didn’t think this Restaurant Review thing through. A couple weeks ago, I realized that I don’t have the heart to write bad reviews. I had written up this review on a restaurant that will remain unnamed, and technically, it was a well-written, witty review of a not so good restaurant, but I just didn’t feel right publishing it. Also, the Vietnamese community in Regina is pretty small, and although I’m not involved in the Vietnamese community at all, my parents are and I don’t want to create awkward encounters for them. So I’ve decided that I will only write about restaurants that I love, so that I don’t have to write bad reviews. So by simple powers of deduction, if you don’t see a Vietnamese restaurant reviewed here on my blog it’s either because: 1) I haven’t eaten there yet (not likely); or 2) it’s not that great (this one).
So let’s get started with a glowing review. Quan Ngon is a small Vietnamese restaurant located at 227 Victoria Ave here in Regina. My mom and my sister, the two biggest Vietnamese culinary snobs ever, have raved about this restaurant so I’ve been so anxious to try it out.
Unlike many other Vietnamese restaurants, Quan Ngon has a very small menu, but I’ve heard that every item on their menu is carefully prepared and quite tasty. It’s also the only Vietnamese restaurant that I know of in Regina that does the “add-on” concept. With an order of a main dish, you can “add on” a pop, a fresh roll or a spring roll for $1. It’s an interesting concept and makes for a very economical meal.
The restaurant itself is quite small, maybe a dozen tables or so. My mom has eaten there numerous times, and she said that the first few times she went when it first opened, there were only a couple tables of customers. When we were there a few days ago, there were 4-5 tables of customers, so I think the good word is spreading around! Also, the majority of the customers were Asian. That’s how you know a Vietnamese restaurant is good, by the way, when the customers themselves are Vietnamese (especially if they are older Vietnamese women or Vietnamese families).
My husband and I went with my parents, and we all ordered pho (beef noodle soup) with fresh roll add-ons. My husband and I both ordered Pho Tai Bo Vien, which is Pho with Sliced Rare Beef and Beef Balls. Quan Ngon doesn’t have any size options for pho and the portions were quite small, which is understandable considering the cheap price of $8.95. My husband and I were still somewhat hungry after our fresh rolls and pho, so next time I would add on a side of extra beef or extra beef balls for $3.95 to make it a more fulfilling meal.
You guys, the pho was the best restaurant pho in Regina. The flavours were authentic, the broth was rich and aromatic, and the beef thinly sliced and fresh. I found my pho to be slightly salty, but my mom said it must be a one-off, because this is the first time where she’s found it to be too salty. Anyways, it was nothing that a squeeze of fresh lime didn’t remedy. The pho came with a plate of proper accompaniments, including crisp bean sprouts, sliced jalapeño, lime wedges, and Thai basil. Making pho properly requires a lot of time, effort, and lots of expensive ingredients (brisket, various cuts of beef, beef bones for the broth, etc) and my mom only makes it on special occasions. Quan Ngon’s pho is so good that it is now my go-to place for pho when I’m having a craving and my mom isn’t making pho anytime soon.
The pho was great, but I was blown away by the fresh rolls. My mom and sister had raved about the fresh rolls, but I was like, “Come on, fresh rolls are fresh rolls, how great can they be?” Man, was I ever surprised. This is the only restaurant in Regina that I know of that has cucumber and bean sprouts in their fresh rolls (in addition to the noodles, lettuce, shrimp and pork). The addition of the cucumber and bean sprouts added a fresh crunchy texture to the fresh rolls. I was definitely inspired and I might start adding cucumber and bean sprouts to my own fresh rolls now! Fresh rolls may seem simple to make, but it’s the quality of ingredients that really set fresh rolls apart. Quan Ngon used big black tiger shrimp, crisp bean sprouts, fresh cucumber, and even the romaine lettuce in the fresh rolls were nice and crisp. I can’t speak highly enough of them, my mouth is watering as I’m typing this.
I can’t wait to eat here again. I want to try some of the other items on their small menu. I saw that they have a salted fish fried rice, and I’m curious to see if it’s as good as the one that I’ve written about from Peking House.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not involved in the Vietnamese community at all, so I’m not writing this glowing review because I know the owners of this restaurant or anything like that. The owner greeted us when my husband and I arrived, and she didn’t even know I was Vietnamese until my parents arrived. And the owners likely won’t even know this review exists (unless one of you guys tell them about it!). This is a completely unbiased, uninfluenced review and you can trust me when I say that this is Regina’s hidden Vietnamese gem!
With their limited but focused menu, Quan Ngon is able to deliver well-prepared, well-executed, authentic Vietnamese dishes at an excellent price point. If you haven’t already, give this restaurant a try!