Pho is one of my favorite choices for a quick meal. There is nothing quicker (other than fast food joints) than walking into a pho resturant, give the server the number and size of the pho you want and, a hot steaming bowl of pho should be placed in front of you in short time. Triple Coconut Tree is a family run joint located in North Burnaby. The space that Triple Coconut Tree currently occupies has seen a lot of tenants come and go but Triple Coconut Tree has stayed there for a while now. They must be doing something right in an area surrounded by pho restaurants..right?
To me pho is like the little brother to ramen. Where ramen is admired on how well the soup, noodles and toppings compliment each other, pho is strictly more about the soup. If the soup is bad, then the bowl of pho is going to be bad. All the other fixings in a bowl of pho come pretty standard. You can’t overcook raw beef and you can’t screw up the onions and coriander that is in the soup. If they mess up the rice noodles, well that pho place doesn’t deserve to be in operation. So really, all we can judge from a bowl of pho is how well the soup is made. I’m sure everyone else has their own criteria, but this how I choose to view pho.
My dish of choice was Bun bo hue. I know its not pho pho, but the concepts remain the same. For those unfamiliar to bun bo hue, the soup is a beef base still but is spiced up with lemon grass, shrimp paste and chili. Bun bo hue is suppose to have the perfect balance of spicy, sour and salty.
In Triple Coconut Tree’s rendition of this classic Vietnamese dish, covers mostly what bun bo hue is all about. The spicy is there, the salty is there and the sour is there. However, missing are some classic ingredients, such as the pork blood. I’m not going to cry over one missing ingredient but if you have everything else in there (pigs feet, beef shank, meat balls, Vietnamese meat loaf) while not go the extra mile.
One real compliant I had was the amount of shrimp paste they used in this bow of bun bo hue. You can clearly notice the shrimp paste via smell. If you haven’t had shrimp paste before, think the scent of fish sauce but magnified 10 times. They could have concealed the shrimp paste a bit more in my opinion.
One thing I wanted to quickly throw in there is the lack of service, which to me is forgivable. Triple Coconut is medium sized but there is usually only one server, who is the owner. When Triple Coconut Tree gets busy, she runs around like a chicken with her head cut off. So I can tell she is trying her best to serve everyone. For those who expect to served in a snap of a finger (like the table beside me, who also expressed how much he hated Canada and how he feels paranoid about banks holding his money), I urge you to have a little leeway when visiting Triple Coconut Tree.
Good place to go for a quick bowl of pho in North Burnaby area. Be patient with the service. Did not check out the washroom.