Mr. Red Cafe has only been open in Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood for a few months now but it’s already being praised as a rare taste of what Northern Vietnamese cuisine has to offer. It starts with Pandan jasmine tea, which is served unsolicited as soon as diners sit, giving them a soothing first sip of the eatery’s approach to hospitality. It continues with dishes like xoi xeo ga (sticky rice with chicken pate) and their banh mi pate, a vietnamese sub loaded with meatloaf, cucumber, carrot and a healthy spread of chicken pate topped with crispy shallot.
The pho is also a great standby. They trade the flavour crutches like sugar and MSG for time, heat, and bones, and for a little extra zip to the broth, they replace the archetypal southern Vietnamese squeeze bottle of hoisin for an addictive rice vinegar steeped with chilies and garlic – a traditional northern Vietnamese condiment.
Rose, the incredibly sweet owner, works out front in the unassuming dining room. She loves to talk about the food her husband Hong cooks in the kitchen. The pair keep themselves busy by making everything in-house to ensure quality. From the chicken pate to the three different stocks they craft from scratch daily, they pride themselves in being purists who deliver the same authentic flavours found in the food stalls of Hanoi. It all combines for a place that always makes you feel welcome with honest cooking and genuine service from hands-on owners who are passionate about sharing their cultural roots through food. If you’d never heard of it until now, pay them a visit and enjoy.
Mr. Red Cafe | 2234 E. Hastings St. | Vancouver, BC | 604-710-9515 | No Website