There’s a new pho place on the outskirts of Yaletown that opened a few weeks ago, called BaOQi eateri. When I heard about this new and nearby Vietnamese restaurant, I went to check it out just a couple of days after its first day of operation, and decided to grab some quick takeout. About two weeks later, I returned again with a girlfriend to eat lunch. This post is a combination of my experiences there to date.
First off, it was kind of difficult to find BaOQi eateri, as I couldn’t locate it anywhere when searching on Google, and wasn’t entirely sure about the spelling of the name of the restaurant. A girlfriend told me to walk along Davie, near where all of the small Japanese restaurants can be found sprinkling the street. The signage when I arrived was also quite minimal, and I’m guessing it’s just temporary until they find something more obvious and permanent to draw in new diners.
The first time I went in, there seemed to be a ventilation problem, as the smell of garlic in the air was overwhelming, and they had a sliding door at the front propped open. However, they may have rectified this already by my second visit, as I didn’t notice anything then, and was glad since we were eating in and hate walking out and needing to immediately wash my hair and clothes!
The menu is quite simple, and only consists of one double-sided page, but it seems to have a lot of the staples that you would normally find in a Vietnamese restaurant, plus a few twists. There is an entire section dedicated to sandwiches (Banh mi), various rolls and salads, and a couple of types of soup (pho).
To try something a bit different (that neither of us had heard about before – keep in mind my girlfriend that dined there with me is Vietnamese), was the Jack Fruit Salad. This was made with young jack fruit, shrimp, clams, and a special house made vinaigrette served on the side that can be poured over top to suit personal tastes. We both found that although we’re huge fans of sweet, ripe jack fruit, we’re not so keen on the younger variety, which was rather tasteless and odorless, but has a strange aftertaste. I did really like the flavour of the dressing, which somewhat reminded me of what would be served with a Thai green papaya salad, but the overall effect wasn’t something that I would get again. It was quite light and refreshing though.
We both also ordered a bowl of Beef Noodle Soup. I liked the flavour of the broth, and found that it wasn’t as salty or strong in taste as others that I have had before. It made me think that it didn’t contain any msg (I didn’t ask though), but afterward, my girlfriend had a feeling that it did. Unfortunately, I can’t really say either way at this point. This of course came with the usual lime wedges, bean sprouts, basil, and hoisin and chili sauces, but there wasn’t any hot chili oil to be found as an alternative (which is my usual spice preference). The meat within was a variety of beef balls, and rare and cooked beef.
When I had takeout, I tried the Spicy Beef Noodle Soup, which has a spicy lemongrass broth. I didn’t like the flavour nearly as much as the plain pho, as it was a bit salty and too strong. I think that it also contained quite a bit of garlic that overwhelmed the rest of the soup. I definitely know where my preference lies for next time.
One other item that I tried during my takeout meal was the Shrimp and Pork Salad Rolls. Also known as Summer Rolls elsewhere (at least that’s what I’ve always called them), these rice wraps are filled with pork and shrimp, plus vermicelli noodles, bean sprouts, mint, and chives. It’s served with a side spicy sauce and feels quite healthy and light.
Overall, there are definitely still a few issues to work out in terms of what I’ve mentioned above, but I’m definitely going to return again for pho during those cold and rainy Vancouver days. It’s the nearest Vietnamese restaurant to Yaletown (as far as I know), and I did quite enjoy the regular bowl of Beef Noodle Soup.
Note that as of my last visit (last week), BaOQi was still cash only, as they were waiting for their debit/credit system to be implemented, and their delivery service will be starting soon.
620 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC, V6B