Thursday, December 13, 2012

iPhố Express (越南快餐店)

Ne soyez pas dupé par leur nom en pensant que c'est le fast food. C'est effectivement le contraire! On offre un menu avec de délicieux mets vietnamiens authentiques, un service impeccable, et un endroit très confortable pour s'asseoir. Nous sommes très heureux d'avoir trouvé cet endroit charmant. Peut-être après avoir lu ce post, vous aurez envie d'y aller et que vous l'aimerez autant que nous!

We passed by this new restaurant earlier this year when it had just opened. Very often when the name starts with "Express", right away, it tells me that it might be a fast food franchise, and for someone who doesn't quite support either fast food or franchises, the name didn't really sit well in my head. (We were glad to find out later that it's not a franchise, nor is it your typical fast food!) On the other hand, they have this really nice, simple, modern decor, which is very attractive and convincing to me. Next thing I know, we were eating at the restaurant! (Don't ask me how it happened...)


The restaurant has a high celling with Asian lanterns and minimal, but tasteful decorations. It's very well kept and is always clean. 

Before I go further, I must address the fact that ever since I came to Quebec City, I've been hungry for good Asian food. We used to be able to easily find all sorts of great Asian cuisines in New York, but no such luck in this town. Probably because of Vietnam's history of colonization by the French, there is a good amount of Vietnamese restaurants here, but unfortunately many of them are not that great. Just like a lot of the typical Chinese take-out places in the U.S., many dishes are altered to fit the local taste. We've tried a couple in our neighborhood and in nearby Sillery and most of them fall into that category. This restaurant, however, is an exception. 

Right: When the days are sunny and bright, I especially love to sit at the bar near the entrance, right against the big glass wall, to enjoy the warmth of the sunlight. The passing pedestrians do not even bother me at all.
右圖:每當天氣晴朗的時候,我特別喜歡坐在入口處旁的吧檯,透過面前的玻璃窗,可以盡情享受整片溫暖的陽光,那種悠閒的感覺真的很棒! 即使偶爾有些路過行人在眼前晃來晃去也完全不會干擾到我。

Left: On the bar and each table has its own sauce, soup spoon, disposable chopsticks, etc.. It reminds me of the street food in Taiwan, which I miss!

Another thing I need to mention: the restaurant is located in a well known touristy area near Ave. Cartier, so there are plenty of eating choices. Because it's considered a very nice district, some of the restaurants and stores can be a bit snobby. I can tell you that this is one place we have always been served and greeted well. The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is their big warm smile, which already wins my heart. I remember there were a few times we went there just before they were closing and not only did they not rush us, but we were told to take as much time as we'd like. How nice was that! We rarely get that kind of treatment here in Quebec!!

Besides the friendly service and the pleasant decor, they offer a nice variety of dishes such as noodle soup, salads, fantastic sandwiches (more on this), rice, and rice noodle dishes. The prices are unbeatable, and I'm especially amazed at the size of the sandwiches!!! The food is never heavy or greasy; to the contrary, all the dishes that I've tried are very tasty, yet light and healthy. (I include photos of some of my favorites below)

Overall, it's a great place for both lunch or a casual dinner. The busiest time is during the lunch hour until about 14h, then it gets kind of quiet. Especially after 19h, you can sometimes even have the whole place to yourself, with just the occasional person coming in for take-out. They have free Wi-Fi, newspapers to read, and even a large TV screen with news on all the time, and the place always smells amazing! We feel very lucky to have found such a delightful place to eat, where you will always be greeted with a smile!

The large, open sitting area is in a raised, separate room (and is nicely decorated with the holiday spirit!)

早在今年初經過這家新開的餐館時,看到店名有"Express"這個字,馬上連想到它不是速食餐廳就是連鎖店之類的吧! 對於這兩者都不太認同的我來説,通常是不會想"贊助"它的,還好後來發現它兩者都不是(就叫它快餐好了!) 就這樣,只記得我當時蠻喜歡他們簡單又含有現代風的裝潢設計, 也不記得從什麼時候開始,我們已經在不知不覺中,加入這家"快餐店"的粉絲團了!

在我描述它之前,必須先跟大家説明,我繼去年暑假來到魁北克市之後,就一直渴望吃到好吃的亞洲食物,因為在這裡要吃到像在紐約一樣好吃的亞洲菜,可沒有那麼容易! 你需要開2個多小時的車到蒙特婁 (Montréal) 才有較多好吃的亞洲餐館。不過魁北克倒是有不少越南餐館,可能是越南從前為法國殖民地之一的關係,但不幸的是,要找到美味的越南菜還是很難,大部份越南餐館就像一些美國典型的中式餐館,很多菜色都改以當地老美口味為主,根本已經不是道地的中國菜了,我們試過一些家裡附近的越南餐廳,口味超甜又油,除了我正準備介紹的這家餐廳例外。



這家快餐店位於知名的Cartier大道附近,因為由於是觀光勝地之一,這帶餐館非常多,且又是被公認的好區,很多餐廳或商店的服務人員都有點跩,但我可以向你保證,那種服務態度絕對不會在這家越南餐館出現的!! 當你走進門,第一個看到的就是他們溫暖的笑容。 記得有幾次在他們要關門的時候,我們仍在用餐,老板不但沒有趕我們,反而還要我們慢慢吃?! 這真的很令我不可置信,以"外國人"的身份,在魁北克要得到這樣"VIP"的服務相當罕見啊!


當然除了有好的環境和親切的服務,他們也提供各式的菜,例如越南粿條湯麵,沙拉,越南三明治,飯及米粉,價格非常合理。我試過的每道菜也都可口,清淡又健康 (以下照片有我人所喜歡也經常點的食物)

總而言之,這是ㄧ家好吃又令人覺得舒適的快餐店,通常在繁忙的午餐時間過後,特別的寧靜,有時甚至整家餐館就只有我跟老公倆人,(有那種享受VIP的感覺!) 他們有免費的報刊和WiFi,難得找到這家店真的覺得很幸運,所以也想與大家分享如此令人愉悅的一個小地方! 

Not only do they do take-out, but they cater as well! 

Phố đặc biệt - Tonkinois avec crevette/Vietnamese rice noodle soup with shrimp/越南粿條湯麵

You can choose either beef or shrimp. Since I don't really eat beef, I always get it with shrimp (For those who like beef, I would go with that choice, since it's more authentic). I like the thinly sliced onions on the top with shrimp, and the soup always makes my tummy happy. I have gotten it several times whenever I don't feel so well. My favorite part is the broth; it is not too sweet like some other ones I had before. Something tells me that this fragrant soup is somewhat responsible for the aroma in the restaurant. 


Garnitures pour La Tonkinoise/Toppings for the noodle soup/粿條湯麵的配料

Typically served with Thai basil, cilantro, other Vietnamese herbs, bean sprouts, chili, and lime. Here, the soup is served with Thai basil, chili, bean sprouts, and lime. 


Gỏi cuốn - Rouleaux de printemps/Vietnamese summer rolls/越南粉捲

This dish is very refreshing, light, and healthy. Again, just like the Tonkinois (rice noodle soup), I always feel good eating it. The rolls contain rice noodles, shrimp, pork, cilantro and scallions, and the shrimp are never rubbery or overcooked. If you like the Vietnamese sweet peanut sauce, you can ask them for some as well!


Bánh mì thịt - Sandwich vietnamien/Vietnamese sandwich/越南火腿三明治

This is basically a sandwich that is stuffed with several different kinds of pork products, such as sliced roasted pork, ham, etc., with pickled carrots, and cilantro. The baguette is always fresh and warm, and nicely toasted. It has the perfect balance of pork and vegetables, and is quite good with all the carrots. It makes you feel good having it, too!



Bánh mìố - Sandwich opla/ Vietnamese egg sandwich/越南煎蛋三明治

We love eggs, therefore, this is a must-have sandwich for us! But don't get me wrong, we don't love just any egg sandwich. When it comes to eggs, I'm very particular. It has to be cooked perfectly, and in this case, I'd say that it is indeed prepared perfectly each time! It contains the soft fluffy eggs, delicious onions, pickled carrots, cilantro and some kind of Asian dark sauce. It's my favorite item on the menu and I highly recommend it!!

我是超愛吃蛋的人,這道三明治當然是必吃不可,也是我的最愛!但是別以為只要是蛋我都吃,我對蛋是非常挑悌的,要是做的不夠完美,我絕對不會再嘗試第二次 (是在跩什麼哩?!) 這裡面的蛋總是煎的又香又柔軟,再加上炒過的洋蔥、醃紅蘿蔔絲、香菜和醬汁,吃起來好有媽媽味,好幸福喔!!!


Bún Gà + Giò - poulet avec rouleaux et vermicelle de riz/chicken and spring rolls over rice noodle/燒烤雞肉米粉

This is also one of our favorites! The dish has a little bit of everything: pieces of grilled chicken (or you can choose pork or beef) and spring rolls on vermicelli with fried shallots, scallions, cilantro, chopped peanuts, a delicious sauce, and a side of lettuce with mint and pickled carrots. The chicken is very tender and tasty, and is grilled until crispy on the ouside. It's a very satisfying, yet fairly healthy dish (if we pretend not to see the fried rolls!) I love the scent of the dish, perhaps it's the kefir lime?

這也是我們常點的其中之一。越南米粉上放有燒烤雞肉塊 (你也可以選擇豬肉或牛肉),青蔥,香菜,紅蔥頭,和碎花生,旁邊附加生菜,薄荷,黃瓜及醃紅蘿蔔絲。雞肉的味道很不錯 (似乎有醃過),蹂質軟嫩,燒烤至外皮有點脆又香,加上醬汁與其它的料,整碗吃起來真的很滿足。

Bánh xèo - Crêpe vietnamienne/ Vitnamese crêpe/越南鹹煎餅

I've been to a handful of Vietnamese restaurants in NY, but have never had or even seen this dish before. It's a Vietnamese savory pancake that is made with rice flour, then stuffed with pork, shrimp, onions and bean sprouts, with a yummy dipping sauce that's made with fish sauce. It also comes with some lettuce, mint, cucumber and pickled carrots on the side. Since the pancake is made with rice flour, it has quite a different texture than regular pancakes and is very crispy on the outside. If you're looking for something that's a little bit different and special, then you have to try this! It feels like an authentic dish. 



They were offering different choices of bento lunch boxes in the past few months, but they recently stopped serving them. Instead, they're going to expand their menu to include Japanese and Chinese dishes soon! I'm not sure how they'll do since the Japanese menu looks a lot more expensive than the others! I also can't say if it'll be just as good as their Vietnamese menu (I'm still very skeptical about the Asian food here....), but I'll try them and let you know in my follow-up post! ; )

他們將會在不久的未來擴大他們的菜單,供應中、日式餐。我不敢說新的菜單是否會與越南的菜單一樣好吃 (我對大部分在魁北克市的中、日式餐還是很沒有信心),不過我還是會去嘗試,也許還會寫續集喔!(如果有人想看的話??? XD)

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