I’m not a big fan of Boxing Day shopping or Boxing week shopping at all. I’m not really sure what made me change my mind and decide to brave the craziness with Nathalie this year, but we headed downtown to check out the deals. Perhaps the reason why it was okay in my mind this year was because she had a specific list of things she needed and I had to pick up a thing or two myself, so we wouldn’t be muddling about where we didn’t have to.

To that extent, after an hour or so of random shopping, we decided to grab a quick bite. It was a bit too cold to walk down towards Denman for ramen, and Nathalie was craving pho. I remembered that a new place had opened up in Yaletown, GT II Express (Golden Train) and suggested we check it out.

When we arrived, it was fairly quiet with maybe one or two occupied tables. The restaurant is small and looks like it fits about 30-40 people. The one and only lady working the front took our order and shortly thereafter, the place got packed fast.

Photo by Nathalie de los Santos

So fast, I felt a little sorry for the lady as she was probably overwhelmed with taking orders, making drinks and such. I bet she wasn’t expecting a big rush of people (on Boxing Day though?).

Photo by Nathalie de los Santos
Photo by Nathalie de los Santos

Nathalie ordered #15 – Pho Ga (chicken rice noodle in soup). We both ordered small bowls ($6.50, $7.50 for a large and $8.75 for XL). I managed to have a little sip of her broth and it was quite nice, it had a great chicken broth flavour to it that wasn’t laden in that MSG taste but tasted like authentic chicken broth.

Photo by Dee de los Santos...on Nathalie's great camera!
Photo by Dee de los Santos…on Nathalie’s great camera!

I decided to try #21 – Rare Steak Satay Rice Noodle in Soup (Small: $7.00, Large $8.00, XL $9.50). Although it was a small, felt like it was a regular sized with the amount of noodles and beef in my soup. The broth was aromatic, spicy and to that end, flavourful. The beef slices were good and had a healthy amount of it in my soup. I really didn’t need the sriracha (sacrilege!!) and hoisin for this soup as it was delicious on it’s own.

Photo by Nathalie de los Santos

Our poor waitress apologized for the wait when it came to our drinks and eventually brought it to us. We weren’t in a hurry, so we didn’t mind at all. I ordered #79 – French Coffee with Condensed Milk and Ice ($3.25). I liked it here as it wasn’t so bitter compared to a lot of other Vietnamese restaurants, it still got my heart pumping with it’s rocket fuel-like caffeine!

Photo by Dee de los Santos (on Nathalie's camera)
Photo by Dee de los Santos (on Nathalie’s camera)

Nathalie ordered a Coconut Shake ($3.20) – luckily she was able to receive the last coconut they had! It was a nice, sweet (but not too sweet) and creamy taste. There is a little bit of coconut shavings and bits which made it even more savoury and delicious to enjoy. On a side note, I love Nathalie’s nail polish and asked her if I could take a photo of it!

Photo by Nathalie de los Santos
Photo by Nathalie de los Santos

Our appetizer came with our drinks, we just ordered some Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($5.50 for two). I enjoyed it here, because it was crispy and crunchy on the outside and the inside had a good, fresh taste to it. Many other Vietnamese places I’ve been to have a strange freezer burn taste to their spring rolls but this place tastes very fresh.

Food: mini4andahalfforks

Service: mini3andahalfforks

Value: mini3forks

Ambiance: mini3forks

OVERALL: 4forks

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