Monday, June 27, 2011

Koi Asia Takes Over Pho Mi 108 - Updated

I heard some rumblings back in April that my favourite pho restaurant was closed. We’ve been going for almost five years! Sadly, Pho Mi 108 is no longer there. It was taken over and the name was changed to Koi Asia. I wanted to try the place out so Andrew and I dropped by the restaurant a few days ago.

Koi Asia serves Canadian-Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese food. Most of the items on the menu were Canadian-Chinese fare. Wonton soup, chop suey, egg foo young, and the dreaded sweet and sour chicken balls – that kind of thing. I’m guessing that they want to do a lot of take-out and delivery orders.

The “traditional lunch bowls” looked decent. I was thinking of getting the bean sprout fried noodles (without the bean sprouts) and beef with black bean sauce. But then I saw the pho. I had to try it. Maybe next time...

To be on the safe side of things, I asked the waitress if the bean sprouts came in the pho. She replied that the bean sprouts, lime, and basil were served separately. Just checking.

I had read from a few places that the pho was different. What lies! My bowl of pho looked the same stuff. It smelt like the same. And it even tasted like the same stuff that Pho Mi 108 had once served. The only difference was the large amount of noodles. They gave me a lot of noodles! You can still see soup in the bowl in the picture above, but once I mixed the noodles into the soup, all I saw was the rice noodles. I feel like the soup is a bit sweeter than usual. Maybe I need to squeeze more lime juice next time.


We tried the Vietnamese spring rolls to see if the recipe had changed, but nothing was changed. The spring rolls had the same filling and were even fried in the same manner. These were just as greasy as usual.

Andrew got the grilled pork and chicken, and Vietnamese spring roll vermicelli bowl. He said there weren’t enough peanuts and the nuoc cham wasn’t very strong. I told him that the restaurant makes their nuoc cham like that so that it’s less off-putting to some of their customers. Overall, Andrew said that it was okay, but that homemade vermicelli bowls are much, much better. The main reason was because everything can be customized easier. True that.

Koi Asia has a small Thai section on their menu; stuff like tom yum soup, Panang curry, stir fried lemon grass (with chicken or beef), and pad Thai.

Their Vietnamese items include spring rolls, pho, bun bo hue, and vermicelli bowls.

I was very pleased that they didn’t change their pho. I’m pretty sure the chefs from Pho Mi 108 were still around. I wonder if they’ll stay on to help with the Vietnamese section of the menu or if they are just here to train the new chefs. No matter what happens, I hope the pho doesn’t change.

Their service was lacking that evening, even though there were only two other tables being occupied. I actually had to walk up to the guy, who was standing behind the counter, and hand him the menus and our order. *Le gasp* It bugs me, but it won't deter me from future visits.

Since they do free deliveries over $20, maybe I'll try to get some pho delivered to be in the evening. In any case, I’ll definitely come back to try their Chinese and Thai dishes in the future. I’ll be back to see if they change the pho, too! That’s a guarantee.

*Updated on Jan. 2012:
The quality of their Vietnamese dishes, like the pho and hu tieu, have dropped significantly. I'd stick to the Chinese section of their menu. I'm on the lookout for a new pho place close to our house. Any suggestions?*


3825 Richmond Rd., Unit 5A
Ottawa, ON
Koi Asia on Urbanspoon


  1. Maybe they just changed the name for taxation sake and the management and cooks are the same. Beats me, but I do see it a lot around NYC -_-" I guess you'll be going to Koi a lot more often now =]

  2. I didn't mention this, but the interior is somewhat different. They used to have the stained glass with 108 on the windows, but they're no longer there. Also, they used to have a large flat screen TV and some of the Vietnamese wall-art aren't there either. The servers are different and some of the chefs are new (I heard a chef speak Cantonese as I was paying).

    I can't remember if they had Vietnamese ice coffee... I guess I'll have to go back! The weather is supposed to be upwards of 30 degrees this week.

  3. Everything's the same, it turns out my friend's uncle owns the place(same friend who owns Sea King). His uncle bought it from the previous owners but everyone stayed on board

  4. Do you know the owners of Koi Asia? Can you ask if they can deep fry the spring rolls in hotter oil for me next time? lol

    Have you tried the restaurant, Anon?


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