Green Bamboo, Re-visited
Way back in September 2009, I wrote a post on Green Bamboo Vietnamese Cuisine. Since then the owner/chef has been continually tweaking his menu with new and delicious items. As Green Bamboo has become my favorite local, I thought it deserved an updated post.
Green Bamboo is located on Willingdon Avenue, just south of Kingsway in Burnaby. They are street-level next to the ever popular Han Ju Tofu Hot Pot. The room is quite small, usually steamy and plastered with droolworthy photos of their dishes. Last summer while I was outside checking out the pics, the owner came out and promptly recommended the Grilled Pork Vermicelli Rice Bowl. Turned out to be a fantastic dish. For the last year or so I’ve slowly been making my way through the quite large and varied menu. I have my standbys, but there’s so much more…
On one visit, as I was settling up, I noticed a fellow diner being served a particularly colorful bowl of soup. My friendly server (the owner’s wife, I think) pointed out the item on the menu wall. Grilled Lemongrass Chicken Noodle Soup. You get a choice of egg or rice noodles. Several big chunks of very tender lemongrass-infused chicken in a slightly thickened, turmeric-laced chicken stock. There’s a big whack of peanuts and garlic along with scallions, leaf lettuce and a slab of tomato. As with all the soups here, you get a heckuva portion.
More often than not, I discover the new soups here by word of mouth…the owner’s mouth. He is unabashedly proud of his food. And as he knows I’m always looking for a great bowl, he tips me off when there’s a new one. This is his House Special Beef Noodle Soup.
As per usual, this bowl is loaded with beef. All of the dishes here are always top-heavy on the meat. Whether it’s a vermicelli bowl, phở, beef stew or chicken soup, you always get your money’s worth. The highlight here, though, are the noodles. These are thick, chewy, toothsome and hand-cut. As good as, if not better than, Lao Shan Dong’s and pretty close to Peaceful Restaurant’s.
This guy makes a terrific Bún bò Huế. A very rich, deep stock screaming with lemongrass and chile. Vietnamese ham, tender brisket, beef balls and even the requisite pig knuckle. A good, healthy whack of cilantro and scallion made this one of the best I’ve come across.
The latest addition to the menu is Bún riêu . The thickened, creamy stock is made from crab paste, tomato, garlic, onion and egg. Accessories include fresh basil and bean sprout, scallion, chunks of tomato and sliced mushroom. As I’m not huge on seafood-based soups, this one isn’t my favorite. Although, the sweet and sour tomato broth was very good.
One of the best things on offer here are the homemade dumplings.
At $15 for a bag of fifty, this is tremendous value. They offer a variety but the best are the Pork and Prawn. Ground pork, chunks of prawn with water chestnut and scallion in a very well made wrap.
Once home, I drop eight or ten of ’em in boiling water for about 6 to 7 minutes. While waiting, I concoct the dip.
This is basically an eyeball job. I mixed up some sesame oil, Chinkiang vinegar, sriracha, sambal oelek and a bit of hoisin. Not your basic black vinegar/shreds of ginger, but it jacks up a dumpling nicely.
You’d think that a “Vietnamese” restaurant that offers up such varied cuisine would eventually fall short. As far as I can tell, in over a year and dozens of meals, that hasn’t come close to happening.