Chinese food that isn’t 100% Chinese – Restaurant Phouc Ky

September 25, 2009

in BYOW, Mile-end/Plateau Mont-Royal, Reviews, Villeray

The idea of “Chinese food” is very broad. Sharing boarders with many countries, China’s food takes many turns as it subsequently affects the cuisines of these neighboring countries. This is why the uninformed make quick judgments when giving Montreal’s Chinese food scene a bad rap; due to not understanding the background of the restaurant. Judge your General Taos’ from Szechuan restaurants, and not the places that have both sushi and Pad Thai on the menu, you’re not going to go to truck stop for their lobster bisque.

Restaurant Phuoc Ky exemplifies the idea of ‘multi-national’ Chinese food, taking elements from Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine, their menu is a mosaic of the best of each culture and culinary background to present a skillfully compiled list of Chinese based dishes.

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We started off with an order a Siu Mai with “Yau Tiew” (fried dough, something that you can compare to a savory doughnut). It was warm, most importantly, it was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. The Siu mai – pork dumpling – was based in a mildly spicy sauce which is meant for dipping with the fritter.


Phuoc Ky has a specialty noodle, aptly called, “Phuoc Ky noodle”. They use two different kinds of noodles, rice vermicelli as well as Chinese thick noodles – which has come to be known as “Udon”. In a steamy bowl of pork broth, this noodle is served with minced pork, pork belly, chives, lettuce and fried garlic.
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I used to dislike soup noodles. I think the fact of eating an instant noodle everyday after school had something to do with me now being jaded about it. Recently, I’ve started to change my opinion on them and this noodle ultimately helped my reconsideration.

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There is a unique accoutrement that comes with this soup noodle. It’s a thin piece of flat dough with a shrimp that has been deep fried. Dunking it in the soup and slowly crunching away at is seems like the best way to eat it.

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The moment the waiter places my big bowl of noodles on the table, I’m thrown back to the nights watching that Survivor episode with the reward challenge where after spending 35 days of smelling each others armpits, they are reunited with a family member. That raw emotion, the feeling of hope, like the dawn of day or the warmth of watching a kitten take its first steps, is what I feel when eating Phouc Ky’s specialty noodle.

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This is the Phnom Phen – yes, as in the city of Cambodia. I know I say this often, but every time I say it, I mean it… so let’s get serious for a second. This noodle isn’t for the faint of heart… or vegetarians… or people with an ethical aversion to pigs walking around without vital organs. This noodle is prepared with pork, tongue, kidney, liver, squid, shrimp and cha lua – Vietnamese sausage.

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This noodle dish is served a bit different than your conventional soup noodles; the soup is served on the side. You spoon it into your bowl according to your taste or just drink it as is as a side dish. *EDIT* If you want the soup on the side, you have to ask for the noodle “dry”… or just ask for the soup on the side.

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You would think that the ingredients would render the taste of this dish gamey and overpowering, but it wasn’t. Like one of those slasher movies when someone is running away from the serial killer and the first thing they think of is running to the roof of the building, as with the gameyless taste of the noodle, it just didn’t make sense. I fully believe that the delicate soup along with the bitterness of the fried garlic and onion was responsible for toning down those intrusive flavors.

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Along with your regular hot sauce, Restaurant Phouc Ky makes their own. A really great mix of many different flavorful and fragrant herbs, it was almost impossible to decode their hot sauce cypher.

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Another homemade condiment that finds its way into most dishes is this garlic concoction in lemon juice. Judging by the jars they come in, these homemade condiments go fast.

This was not my first time at Restaurant Phouc Ky. Their food quality is constant, and being run by a family, don’t be startled to hear random people yelling at any point during your meal. When ever I’m introducing this place to anyone, more often than not, I’ll initiate them to the Phouc Ky experience with the Phouc Ky specialty noodle, as it’s so unique, that I remember my first time, it practically paralleled a religious experience.

Relais Express Restaurant Phouc Ky
7495 St-Denis
514.278-8288

Leave a Comment

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Judyna September 27, 2009 at 1:07 am

Whoa, that place is just a block away from my place! I’ve been looking for a place that served Cambodian food, but wouldn’t require a half hour bus ride.

Great blog post as always, Jason!

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Jason September 27, 2009 at 1:44 am

If you happen to see and try anything more on the Cambodian side, let me know, I’d like to know what you think!

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haiyen nguyen September 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Hi Jason,

A friend of mine keeps telling ab out the friendliness of this resto’s owner, i wanna hear from you, were you well treated;)

By the way, if you want to try something cambodian, don’t miss the Pnompenh noodle soup at Vinh Hing
here you go
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=vinh%20hing%20decarie&rls=com.microsoft:en-ca:IE-SearchBox&oe=UTF-8&sourceid=ie7&rlz=1I7TSHC_en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

i love your posts, just eat … đŸ˜‰

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Jason September 27, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Hey Haiyen,

Great service, they’re obviously veteran waiters so they have that crassy, loud attitude, which is a bit comforting because it’s a bit like talking to your uncle… but nice guys none the less… I just wish they didn’t take away my hot sauce and garlic concoction so fast!

Oh I’ve been to Vinh Hing before, but I wasn’t too impressed. Yeah I know, I wanted it to impress me, but it was lacking. Maybe I went on a bad day, I’ll reconsider!

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Kate M. November 29, 2009 at 8:58 pm

You’ve got this one tagged Plateau/Mile End but it’s not, it’s in Villeray.

I tried this resto a few times after moving into the area (2005) and wasn’t overly impressed. Maybe I’ll give it another go.

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Jason November 30, 2009 at 11:43 pm

Thanks for the correction, I’ve relabeled it. Well, like I said, it’s a specific kind of Chinese food, definitly try the beef and papaya salad or the “lup lup” rice which is a tomato based fried rice with beef and a vinegar and white pepper sauce.

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Mienta January 5, 2014 at 12:13 pm

I absolutely love this place. But there is a HUGe negative side: the waiter. I have been there many times, same waiter, same attitude. He’s the only waiter there is no need to say more about him. I sit the with friends, and while you look at the menu, he stays at the table waiting for your order, which makes you all stressed out and hurry. Then, we order a small bowl of rice for the appetizers we were sharing All four, during main course, when I asked for another bowl, he said: you want more? But I already gave you one !!!!!! I was so mad and literraly told him: well, ya, we’re four on a small bowl of rice!!!! After our meal we asked for the menu (for dessert) and he said: menu??? Again?? U still hungry?? At that time we were just pissed off….he then stood there for about 2 mins watching us trying to separate the dessert….i’m asian and whenever i go eat there, he keeps on speaking in french as if i couldnt understand chinese or as if he wanted to show his french skills… This is really annoying…i have more to tell but this short story is the main reason why I dont go there on regular basis and never bring friends there bcus its such a shame.

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Mienta January 5, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Btw, the food is a A+. I have never encoutered a place with such amazing chinese food!!! The beef stew and the beef lok lak is delicious! i wish i didnt feel so uncomfortable going there to get to try all the meals they serve….

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lagatta à montréal March 26, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Hi Jason. This is their current website: http://phuockyrestaurant.com

I was walking by there recently and noticed that it is now a byow, so it should go into that category as well. I don’t see it looking at your “Villeray” category.

Have you been there recently? Is their service really rude? I don’t mind “shouty” family-style service; there is plenty of that around here whatever the ethnicity of the owners. But real rudeness might be off-putting to some friends and older relatives. Any time I ate there, the food was very good, but I haven’t been in a while.

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Jason March 28, 2016 at 10:57 am

Hi there! Thanks for pointing that out, I wrote this review seven years ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long!) and I don’t think I had enough restaurant reviews to populate so many categories, but I’ve updated it, thanks again. After rereading the comments and feedback from other people, it seems to me that a lot of people have the same things to say about one particular waiter. I can’t speak for the restaurant, but if there’s a problem, you should never hesitate to speak to the manager.

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Pierre December 11, 2016 at 3:15 pm

This place is awesome, I have been there 3-4 times and I cant resist the stuffed shrimp appetizers, the Loc lac and please never forget the pepper tofu, tighten your seat belt you don’t flat away.

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Jason December 11, 2016 at 10:45 pm

Glad you like it!

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