By Kathryne Grisim (@foodmuser)
WINNIPEG — Halong Bay in Vietnam is said to be one of the most beautiful bays on Earth and a “New 7 Wonders of the World.” Perhaps the area was once home to the owners of the Halong Bay Restaurant here in Winnipeg-Tuyen and Hoa Nguyen. Having been a long time fan of Vietnamese cuisine, I must admit that I am pretty hard to impress but impress they did!
We started with spicy beef noodle soup, which sounds pretty ordinary, but was anything but. The beef was succulent and tender and the noodles abundant and “slurp-worthy.” The broth was nothing short of sensational! When the other dishes arrived I ignored them in favour of the soup. Wondering with each spoonful how they made the broth, for it was bursting with savoury flavours. The stock was so satisfying that one could easily imagine that it had medicinal qualities. Perhaps that is why the restaurant was full of medical personnel from the Health Science Centre across the street.
Noted as a house specialty, their rice vermicelli combo came along next. I passed over the spring rolls and enjoyed the rest of the lettuce, sprouts, meat and peanuts.
I was very, very impressed. I hadn’t had such a fine noodle bowl since I visited Jackson Heights in NYC’s borough of Queens, renowned for their ethnic restaurants. The harmony and balance of noodles and lettuce ribbons made perfect sense, a taste I crave on an ongoing basis.
We also sampled one of the restaurant’s daily specials: a Singapore noodle dish chock full of egg, bean sprouts, carrot, green pepper, onion and curried shrimp. The curry seasoning was an exotic combination of spices and had a little heat (from the addition of chilies), without searing taste buds and removing appreciation for the other tastes.
We arrived after the noon rush and had a chance to appreciate the décor and sun streaming in from the wall of windows. Service was more than efficient with dishes arriving almost instantly.
The Halong Bay Restaurant is located at 772 Notre Dame Avenue. Make note of the address as we found the signage deceptive. They are open Monday-Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dine in and take out menus are available. The dining room is wheelchair accessible but we did not check on the washroom.
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