Ha Long Bay – Suburban Vietnamese

I had some days off as the calendar changed, and lazed about a lot. Seriously, I did nothing. But I did eat. When you live in the burbs, you don’t have many options when it comes to Vietnamese food. There are a few spots (Frazer/Paoli, Exton) but those are far. There is a spot near 69th street, but I never know if that place is open. It’s hit or miss. A few summers ago, a vietnamese spot, Ha Long Bay, opened up in Bryn Mawr. Before it opened, there was a sign in the window saying “Vietnamese Restaurant – Coming Soon” for at least a year, if not more. Every time I was in Bryn Mawr, I looked for it to open. And months went by with the sign still up. It killed me! Then one day, it opened! Hooray!

We showed up way after lunch and way before dinner. Basically during a time where noone else is going to be eating at a restaurant. Needless to say, we were the only diners there. I got a strawberry shake, because I’ve had it before there and it was awesome. Well, this time, it had milk/ice cream or something in it other than just strawberries, so it wasn’t as awesome. Still ok, but not the awesome-y just strawberry shake that I had before. We also got summer rolls. They were freshly made and tasted just fine.

The grilled pork bun. Looks good to me. It’s hard to screw this up I’d say.

It was cold, so I wanted soup, so I ordered bun bo hue, the spicy beef hue style. Bad idea. I’ve had the pho here before. It’s a completely different experience than going to an of the mostly pho places in the city. You know what you’ll get. But here, when you order pho, no matter what kind, you will get funky stuff in it. You can order flank pho, and it’ll have flank, some other meat, and some tripe. You order beef ball pho, and it’ll have beef balls, some other meat, and some tripe. Tripe will inevitably show up in your pho here. So be warned! It also tastes a little funky. Not funky bad, but just not like the other places.

So anyway, my food… well, I’ve ordered this in other restaurants before (vietnam, vietnam palace, etc) and it was nothing like those places. This is supposed to be some type of stewed dish. The beef wasn’t stew beef. It was thin slices that had been somehow pan fried. And the broth was bizarre, and had big chunks of spices that was supposed to make it spicy. It was just all wrong. And the noodles… well, it was like spaghetti noodles. Seriously. It was definitely not rice noodles. And there were big slices of raw red onion. Overall, just weird, not what I wanted, but I ate it. I was cold and starving. But heed my warning, do not order this here. Order something else! Anything else!

I’ve had other stuff here and it’s been fine. Since we were the only people there, the service was good! :-) I remember having the skewered meat appetizers here before, and they were f’in good. So try those! If you’re in the burbs and want some decent vietnamese, go ahead and try it. Just stay away from the soupy noodle dishes!

Ha Long Bay

816 West Lancaster Ave
Bryn Mawr, PA

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2 Responses to

Ha Long Bay – Suburban Vietnamese
  1. Anonymous says:

    FYI bun bo hue is a soup dish that is very very different from pho. The noodles are supposed to be thicker and the beef will be different. It’s a very traditional soup designed for the Vietnamese palate.

  2. Mainline Insider says:

    Just ate there for the first time and loved it! http://www.insidermainline.blogspot.com

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