Due to the lack of Vietnamese restaurants in New Westminster, it is always intriguing when a new one opens up. Recently, Purple Lotus Viet-Asian Cuisine took over the spot once held by Young’s Cafe on 12th Street. By all accounts, Young’s was a popular Chinese/Canadian greasy spoon. Purple Lotus still offers up burgers and breakfast but with a variety of Vietnamese and Thai dishes on the menu.
So, on one of those chilly, wet Sunday afternoons, I got a major hankering for soup. Not wanting to go on a major excursion, I stayed local and decided to check out their phở.
Phở Bò Tái Nạm (Rare beef and well-done flank noodle soup). It always seems that the worse the weather is, the better the soup is. In this case, it really didn’t matter. The broth was about as average as it could get. Although nice and hot, it lacked the necessary depth of flavor. The flank was extremely tender. Perfect, actually. Unfortunately, once the rare beef was cooked through in the broth, it became almost leathery.
Chả giò (minced pork rolls). The Spring Rolls matched the phở perfectly…pretty decent flavor-wise but weakly seasoned. It’s too bad they opted for the wheat flour wrappers in place of rice wrappers. For a Vietnamese Spring Roll it makes a huge difference.
Although my meal would rank on the average side, I would probably visit again. Some early reviews said they were very heavy on the MSG. I didn’t find that to be true. In fact, I didn’t notice MSG at all. That tells me they are starting towards developing flavors the right way and not relying on enhancers. Simply put, Purple Lotus has a load of potential.