Anh and Chi | 3338 Main Street
The modern story of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods continues to evolve. Bounded by transit-
friendly arterials (Granville, Oak, Cambie, and Main Streets; Broadway, King Edward and 33 rd
Avenue), communities like Mount Pleasant, Cambie Village and South Granville are home to
some of Vancouver’s best-loved restaurants, shops, and purveyors of locally-sourced products.
These businesses are Vancouver’s social media darlings; snap and tag and share to your heart’s
delight; they’ll appreciate the exposure.
Perhaps the best example of a multi-generational family business can be found at 3338 Main Street, where for over 30 years the Pho Hoang restaurant introduced countless Vancouverites to the exotic tastes, colours and textures of Vietnamese cuisine.
The story of how a modest Vietnamese noodle house morphed into a Michelin-rated restaurant is truly the stuff of Vancouver culinary legend.
In 1980, Vietnamese “boat people” refugees Hoàng & Lý Nguyen arrived in Vancouver and three years later, opened Pho Hoang at 3338 Main Street in a non-descript commercial block. Before the fall of Saigon, Lý’s grandmother ran a successful café that became a safe space for a freedom-loving community of artists and musicians. Word got around about Nguyens’ new restaurant that, over three decades, introduced countless Vancouverites to the immensely varied flavours and textures of Vietnamese cuisine.
In a similar vein, communal engagement and prosperity are very much at the heart of what the Nguyen family has created at Anh and Chi. The family rallied when their father Hoang passed away in 2010; their son Vincent even abandoned a potential career in medicine to shoulder the burden. In 2017, Pho Hoang closed and then re-opened under the Anh and Chi banner, which greatly expands upon their parents’ legacy. Amelie and Vincent Nguyen are, in the Vietnamese language, Anh and Chi; the eldest brother and eldest sister from the same family.
The entire interior was gutted and retro-fitted to resemble French colonial era Saigon, but with mid-century modern tables and chairs. A coveted liquor license resulted in the creation of a tasteful array of truly colourful cocktails while a new menu was introduced that updated old favourites while creating room for bold, innovative new dishes. In the summer of 2022, the prestigious Michelin Guides food critics dropped by and awarded their family effort by bestowing a Bib Gourmand award in recognition of Anh and Chi’s commitment to serving tasty and affordable meals. "The menu is a love letter to Vietnam," says the Michelin Guide. "Chạo tôm bánh hỏi is prepared in a classic way, with grilled prawn mousse served with an array of fresh herbs, and there is pho, of course."
What makes the Anh and Chi story even more remarkable is that their mother Ly is still very much involved with the culinary direction of the restaurant’s success, though she has curtailed her formerly all-consuming work schedule to spend more time with her grandchildren.