Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Binh An Restaurant-The Complete Unedited Story


You may or may not know that I write for the Canstar community newspapers.  I recently penned a column regarding “Magic Sushi 2” and when I returned to the restaurant the following week, the family who own it, gathered round me in appreciation, to tell me how happy they were with my recounting but also about the extra business that had been flowing in as a direct result.  D and I are all about promoting the incredible number of exceptional restaurants in the city and so we especially wanted to shed a positive light on a little Vietnamese place that had come highly recommended by J2’s parents.  Unfortunately, I must have been too verbose and the editor at Canstar had to omit the last paragraph of the story which is where the headline had been fashioned from.  As result the story did not make sense and indeed seemed somewhat derogatory, when my intention was the opposite.  So here it is written in its entirety.

“Very good friends of ours (in fact their daughter married our son) have been recommending the Binh An Restaurant (1076 Main St.) for years but because it is close to their neighbourhood and not ours, we have not found an excuse to visit.  They encouraged us for three reasons: they speculated that we would be charmed by the restaurant owner; they predicted that we would love the food and they care for us enough that they wanted to share the healing powers of the Rare Beef Soup with us.

We started with shrimp wrapped around sugar cane accompanied by rice noodles, crunchy, fresh bean sprouts, julienned carrot, slivers of cucumber, romaine lettuce ribs and an amazing herb that I could not identify (unlike the basil or mint I have had in other Vietnamese restaurants).  You get very messy making a wrapped up package of these ingredients and dipping them into either your choice of hoi sin or fish sauce.  My husband and I are not afraid of a little mess and know that good food is worth the extra effort, so we rolled up our sleeves.

When we were deciding on a Vermicelli dish, the owner Binh immediately declared “19”! This deluxe version comes with charbroiled pork, teeny spring rolls, pork ball (more like a patty) and pork hash.  There were also more crunchy bean sprouts, carrot, cucumber and fish sauce.  I tossed all of mine together into a little soup bowl and slurped down every last noodle.

I could have stopped there but in the mean while, my husband was “oohing” and “aahing” over the Medium Rare Beef Noodle soup, which he insisted I try.  We had never tasted a beef broth like it and Binh shared his secret with us: they simmer beef bones for 10 and sometimes up to 14 hours and this he indicates is the reason why the broth is so healthy.  We guessed that the thinly sliced rare beef must be added to the broth raw so as to let the broth itself do the cooking.  The result is absolutely delicious and satisfying.

Binh Le is the owner of the Binh An restaurant and he told with us that the restaurant is named for his son.  He recounts the story of arriving in Winnipeg in the early 1980s via boat with other refugees from Vietnam.  He returned to his home country to marry his wife and they now have four teenage children.  But when his first child was born, the baby boy had a heart issue and had to be cared for by experts in Montreal.  Now his healthy son is 15 and Binh not only expounds about how amazing Canada has been to his family but that the meaning of the restaurant’s name is “everything okay”.  ”

Binh An Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Only the pure of heart can make good soup” –Beethoven

Love-that is all.  (Can you see a heart image in here?  Neither can I, I just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention).

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