Trying to do something a bit different: Mui Ngo Gai Vietnamese

The owners at Mui Ngo Gai on Kinsgway near Victoria Dr. really have their heart in the right place. The menu is varied, but not in an unfocussed, sprawling sort of way, but more of an adventurous, curious way. On paper this would be the kind of place that I’d die for, but unfortunately it’s held back a bit by spotty execution.

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Now those are reliable hours!

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This place was featured in an un-Google-able Vancouver Sun article from 2011, but it was based on reader submissions so take the endorsement with a grain of salt 😉 Mia Stainsby would actually review this place much later in 2013.

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Menu porn coming up!

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Their housemade chili oil piqued my interest. We’ll see what the big deal is…

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Crab paste noodle sounds good… Apparently this is a dish that’s regional to Saigon. The big draw at Mui Ngo Gai is that they feature regional dishes from all over Vietnam, not just southern Vietnamese dishes. You can see their full menu online.

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I love exotic meats. Should I choose goat or frog’s legs? And which preparation? It’s like Sophie’s Choice!

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We make Thit Kho To at home but we’ve never seen it made with pork spareribs before. Gotta try it…

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This also sounds good but it’ll have to wait until next time.

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Canh Bun (Crab Paste Noodles) with pork blood cubes. It’s a bit like Bun Rieu except instead of tomatoes you get pork blood and kang kong (water spinach).

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Lots of fluffy, eggy crab mixture.

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Pork blood cubes and deep fried tofu.

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Thick round rice noodles in this one. Really good dish. A cleansing comfort food type dish. We’d order again.

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BBQ Beef Shortrib on vermicelli. This was the saddest-looking and most disappointing dish of the night. This was the one player that brought the whole team down. Horrible from the tough, gristly meat, right down to the powdery, bottom-of-the-container, crushed peanuts.

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Carmelized Pork Spareribs (Suon Kho To). This method of cooking small amounts of meat in a rich, reduced sauce is a classic Vietnamese way to making a bit of meat go far. To be eaten with copious amounts of rice.

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The balance of this dish was great. Strongly flavoured yet easy to eat with lots of rice. The use of spareribs made it even more special. They got the umami flavour just right.

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Goat Curry. I asked the staff if the goat in this dish was tender. They said “yes!” The goat was actually just barely tender enough to eat. I still had to struggle with a few pieces. The sauce was heavy on the coconut milk, but good flavour overall.

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Despite the mini-jaw workout, I enjoyed this dish. I can’t get enough alternative proteins. But I’d probably explore other dishes on the menu before going back to this one…

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Their housemade chili sauce! I only remember it being fairly spicy but having not much else in the flavour department. A smidge disappointing.


Well, goes to show that most restaurants aren’t all-good or all-bad. Sometimes it takes a bit of digging to find out which dishes a restaurant really excels at. The question is, when will be the next time we want to go exploring?

Mui Ngo Gai on Urbanspoon

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