It was a cold Saturday evening in September when I realized that fall had officially arrived. My sister Vi was craving soup, precisely tonkinese soup otherwise known as pho. We were sighing at the reality that no such thing was available in our ghetto area (as we always call it) when we remembered seeing a flyer of a new Vietnamese restaurant opening.
Unfortunately, the flyer was thrown in the recycling bin weeks ago. I was desperately looking for it on Google but without a name, it wasn’t an easy task. I almost gave up after a while but miraculously found it. Not only did they have what we desired but they also delivered. Dance of victory!
We placed an order for 3 grilled chicken pho (2 large and 1 small) for us and our mother (not home yet), peanut butter dumplings, shrimp tempura and a spring roll.
The dumplings were soft and delicious, and the peanut butter sauce was addictive. There were 4 and I had more as my sister wasn’t a fan.
The shrimp tempuras were perfectly crisp. They were bigger than I expected, but there were only 2. The dipping sauce was too bland.
The spring roll was cold, which I don’t like but Vi is a fan. She ordered the shrimp one but didn’t like it, it wasn’t fresh enough. Also she decided to eat it after the soup, which I didn’t quite get especially since we had little space left.
Now let’s get down to business. Can a restaurant in Mercier-East have tonkinese soup with equal quality to those in Chinatown or Côte-Des-Neiges? And the answer is… YES! We were prepared to be deceived but we were delighted by the richness of our meal. The grilled chicken was tender and juicy, and the broth was tasteful. I obviously added the sweet and spicy sauces provided in small cups, squeezing the quarter of lime and throwing some basil.
Our bowls weren’t big enough and we had to break it in half. I put half the noodles first and then added the broth, which helps separate them so they are easier to pick.
We had a little problem as one of our soups was missing. It was brought rapidly after a phone call. Vi was certain that the size we ordered was extra-large and after finishing it I couldn’t help but agree. We both have big appetites and for us to not be able to finish it easily means there’s a problem.
I have never been in the restaurant but I’ve passed in front of it while taking the bus. It seems tiny with a few seats, fitting with an express counter. It’s perfect if you want to grab a healthy lunch.
As I’ve never ate at the restaurant, my grade might sound biased. It gets an 7.5/10. Overall the food is amazing and the prices are affordable. An appetizer and a main meal are roughly 11 dollars per person. Three appetizers and three main meals cost 32 dollars with taxes, minus the delivery tips. It loses points for forgetting one of our pho, I HATE when my order is not right. I also wished they gave us chopsticks. I like eating my noodles with them and think they should either ask us if we want some or put them in the bag. It’s not because we are in a francophone area that people will not eat with chopsticks.
Since that fall evening till today, we have ordered at Tonkin Express three times. Everytime I call, they know our address by looking at our phone number. We must be in their top clients list and as it gets colder, the more often they’ll hear from us.
8582 Hochelaga, Montreal, QC
H1L 2M3 514-355-2882