Rainy Day Comfort: Hoang Long Restaurant

Though I miss the accessibility of greenspace, my new office building provides many walkable lunch options in Chinatown. And on a day when a power outage pointed to the definite detriment of not having a window in my room, it seemed the perfect opportunity to patronize my restaurant neighbours.

The wait at Thanh Thahn Oriental Noodle House was five parties deep at 12:30pm, so I wandered over instead to my second choice – Hoang Long (10715 98 Street).

This was my first visit to the eight month old location (Hoang Long has three locations in Edmonton). The peripheral tables were occupied, but the dining area was surprisingly quiet and mellow, in stark contrast to the bustle and crash of Thanh Thanh. At that point, I knew I made the right choice – I was craving a quiet space to settle in with my daily paper.

The decor of this Hoang Long was surprisingly similar to Thanh Thanh, actually, minus the fish tank. Clean, with natural light, the furnishing were still fairly new. I liked the sleek black tables with hinged extensions, perfect as a work or, in my case, a reading surface.

I knew from experience not to have the Pad Thai again, so went straight for their Northern Vietnam Noodle Soup with rare beef ($7.95). It was a rainy trek from my office, and next to chicken noodle soup, I find that nothing warms from the inside as well as a hot bowl of beef broth.

Ten minutes later, my order was brought to me with a side of bean sprouts, mint, and various sauces. Though cilantro wasn’t present, I was so aghast at the sheer size of the bowl that I hardly noticed. Between the silky-slick rice noodles, savoury, chewy slices of beef, and rich, from-scratch broth, I left Hoang Long feeling full, warmed-through, and thoroughly satisfied.

With expedient, no-nonsense service and good food, Hoang Long may become a go-to restaurant for me in the future.


Northern Vietnam Noodle Soup with rare beef

Sub-par Pho: King Noodle House

Dickson had been referred to King Noodle House (10613-97 Street) by a friend who claimed it boasted the best pho in the city. Emboldened by such a high recommendation, we sought to put it to the test on Friday.

The furniture was clearly from another era, seemingly having been transplanted from an 80s bar. The variations of pho offered were numerous, taking up at least eighty percent of their menu. Clipped inside the plastic jackets as well were copies of two favorable reviews from the Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun. I ended up selecting pho with beef balls and flank, while Dickson chose the special #2 (containing a number of things I can’t recall).

The food came lightning quick, perhaps only two minutes behind the record set by Pho Hoa. My dish arrived with plenty of cilantro (hurrah), but all of it had already been submerged in the soup (boo). I found the meat portion small, but worst of all, the soup base was sub-par – oily and lacking flavor, it was rather disappointing. It definitely left me unsatisfied and in longing for a replacement bowl from either Pagolac or Doan’s.

Next up for pho firsts: V’s (#111, 4990-92 Avenue).

Restaurant interior

In place of an actual fish tank

Special #2

Pho with Beef Balls and Flank