Le Saigonnais…Upscale Vietnamese in New Westminster

New Westminster isn’t exactly a mecca for Vietnamese food in Greater Vancouver. Until now, we’ve had only three fairly average joints to speak of. When I heard of a new one advertising “Authentic” Vietnamese cuisine, I dragged Darciberger down to Columbia St. to see if Le Saigonnais was the real deal.

Unfortunately, the previous occupants, Royal City Thai, closed their doors. They put out some decent Thai food but I guess not enough New Westers gave them a go. It’s always sad to see it happen but in this case, it made way for some pretty damn good Vietnamese.

Le Saigonnais‘ menu is chock-full of authentic Vietnamese fare…not your average joint by any means. The fact that they used Vietnamese titles in a very non-Asian area gave me great hope. Of the four Vietnamese restos here, they’re the first. Bringing authentic Asian fare to this area is always a challenge. Here’s to hoping that it’s the beginning of a trend.

Their version of Bún bò Huế was pretty solid…stacked with flavor and loaded with meat. The broth was spicy enough but it lacked the lemongrass kick. The addition of beef balls in lieu of the pork knuckle was unique. It dropped the authenticity level down a notch but didn’t detract from the bowl a whole lot. The ultra-tender beef slices, great broth and chewy round noodles made up for things quite well.

The Cánh Gà Chiên Nước Mắm (Saigon-style chicken wings) were tasty, crispy little critters. Fried to perfection and tossed in chile, garlic, scallions and Nước Mắm. A bit sweet, a little salty…good and garlicky. BTW, don’t forget to eat the greens…that’s a nice, crunchy, flavourful salad.

The Royal Platter…a plethora of tasty snack treats.

Going round the plate, first off, the Chả Giò (Vietnamese Spring Rolls).

Fairly decent, these were. The ground pork filling, again decent, was a touch on the mushy side. I found it strange that they would use the wheat wrap instead of the rice version. Turns out they offer both. If you prefer the rice wrap, order the Le Saigonnais Rolls.

Nướng Xiên (Grilled brochettes). These were stellar. A combo of pork and chicken, grilled to perfection, still juicy and completely jacked with great flavours.

The Nem nướng (Grilled pork patties) are basically Vietnamese bologna. In that I mean it’s bologna taken to the next level times two. The mix of sweet and savoury with a big hit of garlic make these outstanding. Pretty sure the dose of MSG thrown in helped things immensely. Very, very addictive. There’s a great recipe here for Nem nướng spring rolls. Gotta try making these real soon.

Chạo Tôm (Prawn Supreme on sugar cane). Here you’ve got a mix of minced pork and prawn, garlic, shallot, fish sauce, palm sugar and pepper wrapped around sugar cane. I’ve had better and I’ve had worse. These were a touch rubbery…a moment too long on the grill.

Hoành Thành Chiến (Crispy wontons)…great little packets of minced pork and prawn.

The last item on the platter was, unfortunately, on the average side.

It’s not that they were bad, but the Gỏi Cuốn (Salad Roll) was just a bit top-heavy on the noodles…they diminished the fresh prawn and Vietnamese Ham a bit. The saviour here was the dense and delicious peanut sauce. Rich, deep flavour through and through.

I usually get my Vietnamese fix at Green Bamboo and other assorted locales throughout Vancouver. It’s good to know there’s a place nearer to home that offers up a variety of interesting Vietnamese fare. Le Saigonnais is a clean, comfortable spot to experience a wide variety of Viet cuisine. Very highly recommended.

Le Saigonnais Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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13 responses

  1. Michelle

    This is good news for me living in Coquitlam! Looks like New West is getting some good places. We just found out our regular dim sum place, the Kirin (in Coquitlam) has closed permanently. The next closest location is the one in New West which we will try next.

    November 25, 2011 at 11:01 am

    • Karl

      Hi, Michelle! Too bad to see a favorite go down. We definitely need to get together for another feast…possibly Dim Sum if your up for it.

      November 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

      • Michelle

        That would be great to get together for another feast! I just read your new post for Red 6 and I’m drooling at your photos there too!

        November 28, 2011 at 12:08 am

  2. Definitely can count on your Karl for the latest in New West finds! Added to my list. 🙂

    November 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    • Karl

      Hey Shoku! Got give Urbanspoon and Kevin Wu the hat-tip for this one. I rarely venture down the hill…this one was a pleasant surprise!

      November 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm

  3. Well, you were fast on this. I haven’t had time to go for lunch (school right across the street, that’s how I got it on US so quickly!)

    November 26, 2011 at 12:49 am

  4. Anonymous

    Its definetly a great Rest. great food great service and above all Great PRICE.

    November 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm

  5. allenavw

    Thank god! I thought I was the only person who missed Royal Thai. I work just up the street from here and I was so sad to see Royal Thai close their doors suddenly and without explanation. I absolutely loved the soup they served with the lunch special. I don’t know what it’s called but I would just die to be able to get some more.

    I tried this place once when it just opened and it really wasn’t too impressive. But I will go back now that it’s had a chance to be open for a while.

    December 14, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    • Karl

      Yup. Always sad to see a good little resto pass along. The upside is that a new joint, Thai New West is opening next month in Sapperton across from the Fireside Pub (http://www.thainewwest.com). If you`re ever out Metrotown way, check out Green Bamboo. Stellar soups and killer vermicelli bowls. Best lemongrass chicken. Ever. 🙂

      The soup you had was probably Tom Yum. Lhy Thai on Edmonds does an excellent version.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      • Hello Karl,
        Thank you for the mention, Thai New West (http://www.thainewwest.com) is undergoing final inspections and very close to opening (approximately 1 week). We look forward to delighting you (-:

        May 21, 2012 at 2:31 am

      • Karl

        Hello Thai New West! I`ve been eagerly awaiting your opening. Cannot wait to be delighted!!

        May 21, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  6. Sashacoco

    Does anyone remember a place called Asian 54 on Kingsway and Royal Oak? They closed about a year ago. I miss that place!

    February 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm

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