By Lindsay Anderson
Special to The Post
With raw ginger, tea, and pho as my ammo, I recently waged war on a cold, or rather, one that hasn’t quite settled in.
It’s a shadow lurking just behind me, causing my body to ache and making me want to sleep 18 hours a day.
It arrived just a week after I told my mom “Gee, I haven’t been sick in awhile.”
I should have knocked on wood a little harder.
With my head feeling cloudy, I wanted two things: soup, and a good coffee shop, so I headed to Steveston Village Vietnamese Restaurant.
The restaurant is located at the south end of No. 1 Road, and has only been open for three months – still just a baby!
Despite being new, it seems very popular already, and much of the restaurant was full when I arrived.
This is a business that’s adapted itself well to its location; elements of the Steveston community are incorporated into the décor, some of the ingredients are local, and the service is more Western-style. In other words, this isn’t a hole-in-the-wall pho joint; it’s a more refined, and therefore slightly more expensive, Vietnamese restaurant.
My server was a friendly, very well-dressed young man who always seemed to check-in at just the right time.
I ordered a small bowl of chicken noodle soup (with local, free range chicken), for $8.
It came quickly, and was the perfect size – often, I find even a small bowl of pho to be too large.
The broth was lovely; it seemed quite mild at first, but the more spoonfuls I had, the more I liked it. The noodles were my favourite part, and while I don’t usually love steamed Vietnamese beef or chicken balls, I adored the ones in this dish.
The jasmine tea they brought was just what my throat needed.
I happily ate my soup, all the while listening to the fishermen next to me chatting about their boats. That’ll happen when you’re eating in the country’s largest commercial fishing port.
Pho is good for you if it’s raining out and you’re feeling less than stellar.
For dessert, I ordered the toasted coconut cake ($4).
This seemingly irrational decision was the right one, because this coconut cake was crazy good- one of the best pieces I’ve ever had.
The crumb was thick but not heavy, impossibly moist, and almost pudding-like; there was definitely some coconut milk or cream baked into it.
The icing was light but still substantial, creamy, and not too sweet, with toasted shredded coconut sprinkled over it. I finished the whole thing in one sitting.
It turns out, my server was the one who baked it!
He said while it’s not a traditional thing to have on a Vietnamese menu, it’s become wildly popular, and he’s even had a few requests from people to buy entire cakes.
Lindsay Anderson is dining out at 365 Richmond eateries in 365 days for Tourism Richmond. The Asian Pacific Post is featuring excerpts from her blog each week. See www.365daysofdining.com for Anderson’s blog.
Steveston Village Vietnamese
12480 No. 1 Road, Richmond
Vegetarian options available
Cash and cards accepted
Advice: Get the coconut cake