5901 Broadway, Burnaby BC V5B 2Y1
You’ll rarely see me eat at a Vietnamese restaurant, or order from one. The reason is that my mom always told me if I wanted something Viet, she would make it (and decidedly better than any other place could serve it).
But when I get a hankering and I don’t want to call up my moms, I’ll cave and get some anyway. What’s the next best thing? A family-owned joint where you can be sure someone’s mom, or auntie or cousin is dishing out pretty damn authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Let me paint the picture of desperation: Friday night, day 13 of quarantine, succumbed to watching Tiger King on Netflix, needed food, missed my mom. So naturally I used my trusty mobile app to order pick-up from White Lotus Cafe. I’ve eaten here a few times before and knew they were a good bet to fulfill this laze-fest I was prepping for.
We ordered our food and got a notification within 20 minutes that it was ready for pick-up. We arrived shortly after and our bag was sitting on the pick-up table, labelled clearly and ready to go! I literally got this bread, because we got a Cold Cuts Banh Mi (aka Vietnamese sub sandwich), the eponymous White Lotus Platter, and some iced Vietnamese coffee – we needed fuel and motivation to binge watch 7 episodes of Tiger King.
Let’s start with the Banh Mi: the flavours were definitely Vietnamese, no weird shortcut or Western hipster spin. It was just a good combo of deli meats typical to Southeast Asia, such as sliced pork and headcheese, and pickled veggies. There was a thin layer of pâté, which I appreciate because I’m not particularly fond of a mouthful of ground liver. What I really enjoyed was the bites of fresh jalapeño for a spicy kick. If you’re not a fan of heat, buyer beware – or just ask for it without them! My only issue was that the bread wasn’t as fresh as others I’ve had and could have been toasted more.
The White Lotus Platter was essentially a bigger portion of their bún (aka vermicelli bowl) with 2 pieces each of all their protein options: BBQ pork, meat patties, spring rolls, sugarcane shrimp. This was definitely my favourite part of the order. Lots of variety and each item had its own flavour and texture which added to the dimension of the platter. I really loved the meat patties which I’m used to as being a super processed, bright pink pork patty. But not this! This was a sausage style patty, darker in colour with some caramelization from the outside char. I can’t say I’ve had this type of meat patty before. And it was the bomb dot com. The other highlight was the sugarcane shrimp: tasty shrimp paste cooked on a sugarcane skewer.
I finished the meal with sips of iced Vietnamese coffee, the flavour was creamy and rich thanks to the sweetened condensed milk. It was a pick-me-up and dessert all in one.
I’m glad I could stuff my face with some tasty Vietnamese food while watching a bunch of rednecks fight over tigers. It was definitely a Friday Night Quarantine Special.
- Cold Cuts Banh Mi $6
- The White Lotus Platter $17
- Iced Vietnamese Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk $4.50
Beats: Lotus Flower Bomb – Wale feat. Miguel