Triple Coconut Tree Restaurant
A couple of years ago, there was a restaurant in North Burnaby called China Express. When the food fair at Brentwood Mall was being renovated, they relocated their stall to an actual restaurant on Hastings. Along with table service, they had three large steam tables brimming with almost mediocre Chinese food. You could get a huge, three item take-out serving for about five bucks. The only problem was, you got what you paid for…about two pounds of Chinese mall food. Then one day, when I was about to get a panino from Cioffi’s, I noticed a bright yellow awning just down the street. China Express had turned into the brand new and uniquely named Triple Coconut Tree Vietnamese Restaurant! Oh, joy!!
Not having much time left on my lunch break, I grabbed a Grilled Lemongrass Beef Bánh Mì to go. It was OK…a bit lacking in beef but full of flavour. I also grabbed a take-out menu and saw there was a whole lot of other great Vietnamese fare to check out. Here’s the dine-in menu:
Between that first visit and the ones for this post, I must of had thirty or forty meals here. Most of them varieties of Phở as well as some darn good Bò Kho. For my last few visits I’ve tried to check out the other parts of the menu. One item that stood out was Bún Nem Nướng, Chạo Tôm, Chả Giò (Grilled Minced Pork on vermicelli, Prawn Supreme and a spring roll).
Vietnamese Bún (rice vermicelli) bowls are one of my favorite things. The basic ingredients are the noodles, fresh vegetables (usually cucumber, shredded carrot & lettuce, bean sprouts and scallions), and maybe some fresh herbs. This is topped of with any number of lemongrass marinated meats or seafood. Served alongside is a bowl of nước mắm which is added to give the dish a nice, fish-sauce flavoured pungency. The downside here were the slightly-too-hot noodles. They should be served at room temperature or cooler as to not affect the crunch of the veg.
My bowl included grilled patties of extremely well-flavoured minced pork along with Chạo Tôm.
Chạo Tôm (or Grilled Shrimp on Sugar Cane) are made by pureeing shrimp, garlic and shallots. The paste is then seasoned with sugar, pepper, toasted rice powder and fish sauce. The mixture is wrapped around a length of sugarcane and grilled. Years ago, a Vietnamese co-worker made these delicacies for us. It was one dish I will never forget. The Chạo Tôm here were almost as good.
Hủ Tiếu Sườn Uớp Xả Khô (Grilled Lemongrass Pork Chop w/ Rice Noodle).
Another part of the menu I hadn’t visited was the Dry Noodles. The Triple Coconut Tree’s version was quite good. Perfectly cooked thin rice noodles are lathered in a sweet, dark soy, sprinkled with scallions and fresh herbs then topped with a load of very tender lemongrass pork. I give this dish a rating of Three Coconuts!
After a months-long break from visiting TCT to seek out other Vietnamese spots, I’m happy to be back checking out all the good things they have to offer.