Even though Bun Cha Hoang Yen down the block and across the street gets all the lineups and attention with their dill noodle, Cafe Dang Anh has been quietly getting some attention too. They serve a similar Vietnamese soup noodle with dill. Is it as good?
Cafe DAng Anh is on Victoria Drive & 36th, beside El Caracol Cafe (who have decent pupusas).
Hours. Note their early closing times.
Bun Cha Hoang Yen can be seen down the block.
To the left of Cafe Dang Anh…suspiciously cheap massages.
Back to Cafe Dang Anh:
If you like your hole-in-the-walls to have a patina, you’ll get plenty of speckled patina here.
Their tea (served cold when we went) has a nice little roasty note to it.
Menu side one.
Menu side two.
This place specializes in northern Vietnamese food, so expect lighter, cleaner, and less-sweet flavours compared to the typical southern Vietnamese restaurant.
It’s a true family affair, with the Chinese wife of the northern Vietnamese husband/owner taking our orders. She speaks Cantonese and Vietnamese, although our fluency is pretty low so we found it better to point and speak English. Various grannies helping out in the back and/or kicking back with a McDonalds sundae:
Towards the end of our meal, one of the grannies Facetimed a friend or relative loudly in Vietnamese. It’s just like Wicca’s mom Facetiming her family.
The owner husband spent many minutes squeezing fresh orange juice behind the till. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to do anything, so that kind of, uhh, relaxed operation. Although the food came out fairly quickly once we were able to order.
A little bit stingy with the Vietnamese herbs in the platter of greens.
Love the metal spoons that they use here!
Bun Cha Ca aka Grilled Fish Rice Noodles ($9), although by “grilled fish” they mean fried fish cakes.
I initially thought that this would be similar to Bun Cha Hoang Yen’s famous dill noodle, but while theirs is MSG-heavy and has much more dill, this one is actually really light with only a small amount of dill. The tube-like water celery sticks add a touch of soapy flavour and crunch. Overall a good, light bowl of noodles.
Bun Rieu + Cha Ca aka Grilled Fish + Fresh-water Crab Rice Noodles ($9). This one looks and tastes exactly the same as the previous one, except with the addition of those crab/pork/egg chunks common to bun rieu:
Again, this bowl’s light and tasty. No detectable MSG. A good bowl of noodles but I don’t think it’s going to blow your mind. Bun Cha Hoang Yen’s dill fish cake noodle will hit you more in the face — these were more relaxed and easygoing.
Bun Cha Gio Cua Be aka Spring Roll with Vermicelli ($9). It’s a rip/dip/eat affair. Noodles done competently.
Comes with fish sauce that has slices carrots and green papaya in it. Flavour was on the light side. Unremarkable.
The cha gio (spring rolls) here are blistered and lightly crispy on the outside. Filling is a bit too mushy/pasty/grainy for my taste. They’ll be fine for you if you’re not picky.
Chao Long aka Special Pork Porridge ($9) contains a LOT of innards/offal.
Also looks dark from bits of maybe pork blood and/or liver. It’s a mild-tasting congee with a bit of richness and ironiness from the blood.
Sliced pork kidneys.
Stuffed pig intestine. If you like the Korean kind of blood sausage, you’ll like this too. Their menu also has a couple dishes where it’s basically all offal like this.
…aaaaand pig uteri (uterus, fallopian tubes). I love this stuff. It’s chewy, like a rubbery stuffed macaroni. Growing up, my mom would get pig uterus that was stained orange on the outside from Chinese BBQ places. I don’t really see it that often anymore.
The congee comes with fried Chinese donuts. I’ve never seen these small sizes before. They might make them in-house? They were really crunchy on the outside though.
But soaked or dipped in the congee, they do the job great.
I liked it with a bit of lime too!
Really good congee. For all the offal that was in it, it wasn’t funky-smelling at all. If you need a hit of iron, get this.
They have two TVs in here playing the same thing. BUT there’s a slight delay between the two TVs so it creates a distracting echo effect.
Cheap, cozy, grimy hole-in-the-wall.
Cash only, of course.
Nothing fancy or amazing, but it’s good, and that feels about right for a place like this.