Monday, March 1, 2010

Le Do Vietnamese Restaurant

Restaurant: Le Do Vietnamese Restaurant

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Last visited: February 22, 2010
Area: Vancouver, BC

2292 East Hastings (Commercial Drive/Grandview)
Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5

Service: 3.5

Ambiance: 1.5

Overall: 4.5

Additional comments:

  • Popular for pho – famous for soup base
  • Popular for spring rolls, chicken and beef pho
  • Fresh, made upon order
  • Family owned/operated
  • Vietnamese owners
  • Hole in the wall
  • Seats about 30
  • Authentic
  • Fast/Cheap/Good
  • Not much MSG
  • Some pictures on menu
  • Cash only
  • Closed Wednesday
  • Open daily 10am – 9pm (except Wed.)

**Recommendation: Spring Rolls, Chicken Pho, Beef Pho, Bún Bò Hue, Chicken Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich)

This all started with Twitter. People were asking me about the best places for pho in Vancouver and to be honest I was a little stuck. I’ve had home made pho before from an excellent Vietnamese mom who worked in a kitchen for years…ever since then I can’t go back to anything else. Home made pho is NOTHING like what they serve you at restaurants.

Anyways people recommended Le Do Vietnamese Restaurant so I decided to give it a try. My expectations were set high because I’ve heard good things about it, and I did my research ahead of time and so far everything was positive. Overall the food is good, but I didn’t think it was amazing. One clear fact I noticed was that they didn’t use that much MSG! Surprising! It was still flavourful too and the noodles are noticeable fresh and the soup is super hot in terms of temperature.

On the table:

**Deep Fried Spring Roll 5/6

  • As a side order $1.75 each or 3 for $5.25 – which is the same
  • These are actually really good. The only thing is that they’re a bit small. It’s about 3 inches so they’re a bit pricey, yet I would still order them again because they were good.
  • They’re hot, fresh, crispy and well stuffed with vermicelli noodles, carrots, jacama root, mushroom, ground pork and cabbage. They don’t use the vermicelli as filler either, there’s actually not much noodle in them.
  • It was salty and slightly tangy I really liked them.

**Variety of Beef Noodle in Soup (Pho Duc Biet #1) 5/6

  • Rare beef flank, tripe, tendon, beef balls and noodles in soup M - $5.95 L - $6.50
  • It came with 3 slices of beef flank that were really tender, but they cook super fast because the soup is served super hot.
  • There’s also 2 pieces of tripe, 2 pieces of tendon and one beef ball cut in half – and this is for the medium size. They serve with with black pepper on top and I really liked that.
  • They give you lots of green onion, cilantro and onions which I really like.
  • The broth was good, but still a bit watered down compared to the real deal. It was savoury and not too sweet and it actually pretty clear tasted. It’s definitely made in house but the beef flavour wasn’t as strong as I would have liked.
  • I don’t think they use much MSG, maybe a bit because they don’t advertise “no MSG”, but it’s definitely not overwhelming of the most obvious ingredient.
  • The best part for me was the hot soup and the noodles. The noodles are noticeably fresh and really soft and chewy.

**Spicy Beef Noodle Soup (Bún Bò Hue #26) 5.5/6

  • Special spicy beef rice noodle soup M - $6.75 L - $7.25
  • It came with 3 thin slices of Vietnamese ham and a couple pieces of beef shank with cartilage. It's supposed to come with pig's feet (pork hock), but I don't recall any being in there.
  • This is one of their specialty dishes and it’s not available at every Vietnamese restaurant although it is a common Vietnamese dish.
  • It’s not as spicy as it looks. It actually wasn’t that spicy at all. It was quite mild with a strong lemongrass flavour which made it a bit sweeter. The spiciness was more aromatic than it was spicy. I actually liked this broth better than the standard beef broth although the broth is the same base. This one also has some shrimp paste in it so it's very aromatic and tasty. This broth was just more flavourful overall especially with the chili oil.
  • The noodles for Bún Bò Hue are not the standard vermicelli noodles. The noodles are those thin round rice noodles. They're good, but it reminds me of eating Chinese soup noodles.

**Chicken Bahn Mi 4.5/6

  • Chicken (Vietnamese) sandwich $3.00
  • This is the sandwich the waitress/owner suggested. That was after she said “everything is good”…so I took it that this was actually a really good item considering when I asked about the sandwiches there was little hesitation to suggest the chicken.
  • This was really good, except I wish they gave more chicken. There wasn’t much in there but they gave lots of vegetables like cucumber, carrots, radish, and cilantro.
  • The chicken bahn mi is different here because the chicken is almost like a chicken stew. They cook and serve the chicken in this tomato stew that’s sweet and sour like – it’s savoury, slightly tangy and sweet. It was very light and it had a ketchup flavour but it was really good and made the sandwich so juicy and flavourful.
  • The sandwich is really buttery though, but that’s part of what makes is so good. It’s actually lard and not butter so it makes it extra good, but extra bad for you too.
  • The chicken is pieces of skinless dark meat instead of the usual shredded chicken they use in bahn mi.
  • I could have used a stronger marinade for the vegetables though. It was a bit pickled tasting but I could have used more flavour like fish sauce and sugar.
  • I doubt the bread is made in house, but it was better than in looks. It was served warm and it was really crusty and really soft in the middle. With the chicken stew I was surprised the bread didn’t get soggy too.

Vietnamese Egg Soda (Soda sữa hột gà) 3/6

  • Club Soda, egg, and condensed milk $3.50
  • It’s almost like an ice cream float, but richer in flavour, but not in texture and not as sweet.
  • I know it sounds a bit different, but it’s actually pretty good.
  • It tastes like a carbonated custard drink. The flavour is definitely custardy.
  • It’s not really creamy, and it’s not too sweet although you expect it to be.
  • The whipped egg just makes it frothier and adds a creamier texture to it although it’s not really creamy. An ice cream float or milkshake is much creamier.

Le Do Vietnamese on Urbanspoon


  1. Ah, Le Do. It was on my target for a while but felt off my target. Whenever I am in the area, somehow, I stop at Seri Malaysia (which is, basically, across the street). Thanks for letting us know about their goods! :)

  2. Yeah I put it on my radar after lots of recommendations. where do you usually go for good pho?! So many in Vancouver, how do you pick?!!? Yum Malaysian!

  3. Great review. I actually work close by and visit Le Do quite frequently. Nothing beats a nice quick bowl of hot pho when your strapped for lunch time. My biggest surprise til this day is the minimal usage of MSG. That definitely prevents afternoon sleepies. I have brought many co-workers to this restuarant and have always received high remarks for the food. I have yet to try the Bahn Mi but something tells me i'll be doing that this week!! Good job Mijune! :)

  4. Hi Don! Thanks so much!! I really really like how they don't use that much MSG too! So nice to hear you work in the area because I'm rarely there so maybe you can recommend something to me? What's your usual? There are some great hole in the walls in that area in general! I only walked 2 blocks too.

    Thanks for commenting!

  5. After reading the review on Le Do, I had to go back and try the Bahn Mi. Since its Friday I decided to gather the troops and head on over. But instead of ordering just the usual pho I wanted to try something else on the menu as well. I decided to share the bahn mi sandwich with someone and also ordered the vermicelli noodles w/ Pork Brochette and spring rolls. I believe its #44 on the menu. I have to say it was quite delicious. The pork brochette was tender and the spring rolls have just the right amount of filling. Definitely a great alternative to having pho on a warmer day. The portions were just right. As for the bahn mi, your review above pretty much says it all. I was skeptical on the bread but it was quite good. It was the perfect texture and not over crusty. Le Do is a great little place. :)

  6. Awesome!! I heard the pork brochette is good too. I have to make my way there again but I'm rarely in that area. It was a super cheap lunch huh? I was super skeptical at the bread at looks hard and dry..but it's actually good!

  7. Fantastic post, Mijune! After a week of excellent Mexican food in Merida, I've been craving pho big-time! You've got to try Le Do's Spicy Roll...a summer roll stuffed with a spring roll...muy delicioso!

  8. Hi Karl! Thanks!! Oh wow your Mexican escape sounds awesome!!! Especially since we're lacking in authentic and good Mexican food in Vancouver.. I don;t even know where to get it...La Taqueria?

    I'm going to the Le Do's Spicy Roll for sure next time! Can't wait to go back!