Song Han, Calgary

Charlie Chan’s which served mainly Westernized Chinese food in Kensington closed this summer. I ate there a few times when I was in the mood for sweet and sour pork but the chopsticky font of its sign always bothered me.

In its place, Song Han opened in August with a quick renovation that opens up the basement space a lot more than its predecessor. Song Han is the third Vietnamese restaurant in the neighbourhood.

Song Han, Calgary
Vietnam Fortune — next to Chicken on the Way — and Pho Mai — in the ground floor of the pink Kensington Mews condo building — are both OK, but I go to them more for convenience than any other reason.

Song Han’s pho (noodle soup) is definitely the best out of all three restaurants. The broth is clear and full of star anise and clove flavours rather than oily and laden with MSG. The proportion of meat is good and the noodles aren’t clumped together. Pho is $8.50 for small, $8.95 medium and $10.75 extra large.

A nice surprise was an appetizer of “hot seasoned crispy chicken wings” ($7.95). The battered wings came piping hot with a slight spicy kick and a sweet dipping sauce.

I’ve come to be partial to No. 53: grilled ground shrimp, grilled pork balls and spring rolls on rice vermicelli. It’s layered with carrots, bean sprouts and lettuce.

With very pleasant service, Song Han is a welcome addition to Kensington for both dining in or take-out.

Song Han, 1140 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary, (403) 466-3888. Open Sunday to Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

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