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Nha Toi Boutique Cafe and Truedan Surrey

Today we drove all the way to South Surrey for what sounded like a unique and authentic Vietnamese dining experience. And full disclosure it was well worth the 45 minutes drive out to learn of such a spot. As a fan of Vietnamese cuisine, having it at least once a week, I can safely conclude that Nhat Toi has made it on my list of top 3.

This is a brand new Vietnamese restaurant, only 6 weeks old at the time of our visit. And not only do they offer a varied modern Vietnamese menu, they also house Taiwan bubble tea brand Truedan; which is the first of the franchise in South Surrey.

Nha Toi means “my house”, as the owners want it to feel like you are visiting their home, where you can enjoy a good meal from their kitchen. The decor caters to this with its open space and good lighting. It feels modern and fresh, where the setting is neat and approachable with rustic tables and a shelf of neutral art deco. Jazzy tunes set an airy tone. And simple monochrome art work shows life in a rural Vietnamese with love for the street food scene and an appreciation for pho.

Their menu focuses on street food from South Vietnam. And in order to have their cuisine as authentic as possible, they have balanced recipes out by using local ingredients, which has created an original taste. I can contest to this as everything we had below was familiar, yet distinctly unique to them.

Currently, during this, they’re soft open, they have a special menu with grouped sets at a discounted prices. Curated to entice you to learn about and try more of what they have to offer. This will only be available until the end of the week, if you want to take advantage of it.

I love a good banh mi, so wanted to try my favourite cold cut style, especially after learning that they make everything from scratch and this would include pate. However, the owner steered me away, mentioning that the other 3 options include their special mix of butter and house sauce that was worth trying.

I then chose the lemongrass chicken banh mi, but was once again redirected away from my second choice, and on to one I would never choose. They make their own pork patty in house, so the owner wanted me to try it. So not wanting to be troublesome, I complied. Although, honestly was a little turned off, from him being pushy and not allowing me to try what I originally wanted. Although in hindsight, I am glad that I did. Admittedly it was good and much better than I thought it would be. I am glad I tried it and might otherwise not get to.

This is Vietnamese baguette stuffed with grilled pork patties, pickled carrot, cucumber, cilantro, green pepper and house-made sauce. The duality of the sauces gave it plenty of flavour and moisture to avoid the typical crusty and dry bread, just as the owner promised. This only makes me want to come back and try the other banh mi options, with my preferred fillings.

The Fish sauce glazed chicken wings cannot be missed. Six pieces of deep fried chicken wings glazed with their house made fish sauce. You can taste the individual sauces coming together as a layer surrounding each crunchy and meaty morsel of quality chicken. So memorable that it has made it to the top of my list for tasty Vietnamese style chicken wings.

As a great accompaniment to the wings is the Fresh papaya salad. Prawns perfectly sliced with fresh cut papaya, carrot, Vietnamese herbs, roasted shallot, and roasted peanuts; all tossed in their house-made dressing, along side a giant prawn cracker. Refreshing and light, but aside from the wings we had, there was no other dish that it really complimented. Maybe if we had a rice bowl this would have been different. It made for a nice palate refresher, but not substantial enough to be a dish on its own. The shrimp cake was the real highlight, I would like the option to order a plate of just it. It offered a nice crunch and a solid base to help cut into some of the excess acidity in the salad.

The Fresh salad rolls were wrapped tight and stuffed full with prawn, fried skin tofu, and mixed veggies; all rolled up in a thick rice wrap paper. Heavy and hefty, I just wanted more shrimp to match. However, three slices per roll is typical. I also found the mint distracting, but that was my guest’s favourite part.

Aside from the extra ingredients in this, the peanut sauce is what sets their version apart. The owners take pride in the time they put into their sauce, and if you are like me, you judge a Vietnamese restaurant by its peanut sauce. This was coconut forward with a unique smokiness and spice that I have never had. Not peanut buttery, which do typically like, but memorable as something all its own. Worth exploring.

We had to try their Red rice noodle bowl, proudly made featuring their house made crab cake and fish cakes; along side flat rice noodle, lettuce, bean sprouts, Vietnamese herbs, roasted peanuts, and roasted shallots. Due to the quality and time needed to make the crab cakes fresh, there is only limited quantities of this bowl available, daily. When it sells out it is done for the day.

The crab cake was indeed something special. It was a heavily seasoned loaf, and what gives this bowl its taste. A little dry and crumbly in texture, but helped along by the side of syrupy crab sauce that you can self drizzle over the lot of it. I just wished there was more to spread around, as the noodles could have used a saucier finish being as dense as they were. But overall a great dish and unlike any other Vietnamese noodle that I have had before.

Not yet on the regular menu, but something in the works for following week, as they continue to expand their offerings in a reasonable and exponential pace, is the Pho Satay, aka Satay Beef Noodle Soup. For this and all their soups, they slow cook their broth on low for two days, in order to garner all that extra flavour. The proof was in the pudding, as this was one extremely flavourful bowl. So warm with lemon grass citrus and a coconut oil mouth feel. The tender noodles easily soaked up all the flavour as the raw beef finished cooking in the hot broth. I just could have used the meat sliced as thinner and in smaller chunks for easier eating. Otherwise a delicious bowl I would recommend and order again.

And another item to be launched next week is their House Special Three-Colour Dessert. Pudding, grass jelly, coconut milk, and naturally dyed pink water chestnut. Not too sweet, this was a nice easy end to a very flavourful meal. You enjoy this for the mix of creamy and gelatinous textures, with the milk being the binder and the water chestnut the wild card adding a firmer texture. It was challenging to eat with jelly that was quick to fall off the spoon, so I advise shovelling it into your mouth instead.

Not just Vietnamese cuisine, Nhat Toi has more to offer with a whole bubble tea shop within their strip mall cafe. The desire for this match up was borne out of the desire to bring families together across generations. Whereas teenagers may not readily want to go out for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant, they may be more willing to do they can get bubble tea out of it. A theory the owners tested with their nieces and nephews and found effective.

Out of all the possible bubble tea franchises to partner with, the owners have decided to go with Truedan, as they align with their own standards, having a focus on quality. Not to mention, the prestige of having the first of its name in South Surrey.

They don’t use powders for their teas and everything natural is imported from Taiwan. They also have strict rules surrounding the tapioca pearls used. I actually ordered pearls in my winter melon tea below, but my sealed cup did not come with any. Had it, they apparently would have been fresh, as after 3 hours of sitting, all excess pearls are dumped out and not to be used, as per Truedan’s quality control. Quality matters here as they take 2 hours to cook the pearls so that the brown sugar permeates to the centre of each.

We had the Winter melon tea latte done classically with the standard amount of ice and sugar. This was as I know winter melon to be, but with a milky finish as a latte.

My guest got the Golden pineapple slush that was dense like a smoothie with real pieces of pineapple in. Great flavour from real fruit for a refreshing and sweet beverage that didn’t necessarily compliment the meal above.

In closing, this was a great experience with amazing food. Once again, I have already declared them as one of my top 3 restaurants to recommend for Vietnamese cuisine. I highly suggest visiting if you are in the White Rock area.

I only caution that in their desire to solicit feedback and do better, they come on strong with their campaigns and questions. It puts you on the spot and does take away from the would-be otherwise hospitable environment. It is great that they want to be better and do better right out the gate, but I would advise them to allow the food to speak for itself and their behalf, because it is worth driving out for.

Nha Toi Boutique Café & Truedan (Jenjudan) Bubble Tea Surrey
3189 King George Blvd unit 14, Surrey, BC V4P 1B8
(236) 547-2203

1 thought on “Nha Toi Boutique Cafe and Truedan Surrey”

  1. Sounds like an exciting duo of establishments! Whether it’s the cozy ambiance and delicious offerings of Nha Toi Boutique Cafe or the refreshing drinks and vibrant atmosphere at Truedan Surrey, both places promise memorable experiences. Thanks for sharing these delightful destinations—we’re eager to explore them!

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