The best coconut cake I’ve had to date is from … a Vietnamese restaurant in Steveston!
Steveston Village Vietnamese opened a few months ago. Even though Richmond is full of Asian restaurants, Steveston does not have a Vietnamese eatery so it’s a smart move. Regulars and tourists alike are giving this place a steady clientele.
The menu has your standard pho with a handful of Chinese dishes thrown in. The pho is decent: good meat-to-noodle ratio, and a clear, light broth. I think the pho is slightly more expensive than most places ($8 for small, $8.50 for a large) but I’m guessing rent is much higher on Steveston’s main drag (right near the Starbucks) compared to a crappy strip mall off No. 3 Road.
Of note is the garlic butter beef ($10.50), kind of like an Asian carpaccio and quite similar to the butter beef from Phnom Penh in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Here it’s also thinly sliced and marinated with fresh lemon juice and fish sauce. Steveston Village’s version is topped with fried garlic, fried onions and peanuts but doesn’t have that same puckery, crunchy, savoury punch as Phnom Penh. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still tasty, AND you don’t have to line up for it.
I heard of the toasted coconut cake from the wonderful Lindsay Anderson from Tourism Richmond’s amazing 365 promotion and HAD to try it. She was completely right. This cake is (and I hate this word) MOIST with a Goldilocks (not too bland, not too sweet, JUST RIGHT) frosting and crunchy bits of toasty coconut flakes.
I’m not a baker but Gwendolyn from Patent and the Pantry (based in Calgary) sure is. So I used her visit as an excuse to eat cake again.
On that visit, I’m sure Justin, our server, thought we were a bit batty because we ordered only coconut cake (and an iced Vietnamese coffee for me). Turns out Justin is the one who bakes the cake himself! Not only is he talented, he was cute as a button, wearing suspenders, a bow tie and jeans. I have a wee crush.
Justin told us that his family ran a Vietnamese restaurant called — of all things — Oriental Dallas in Calgary for seven years before they moved to B.C.
Anyway, Gwendolyn loved the cake — “So MOIST!” she said. And she’s the expert.
All desserts are listed on the blackboard, or look for the beautiful coconut cake sitting on the counter.
Steveston Village Vietnamese, 12480 No. 1 Rd., Richmond, B.C. (604) 370-3709. Open daily 11 a.m. t o 9 p.m.
High chairs: Yes.
Room for strollers: Yes.
Change table: No, but um, the floor was clean enough for me to put my change pad down. (Don’t judge me! It was a baby BLOWOUT EMERGENCY!)
Extras: We didn’t ask but staff thoughtfully brought H a plastic cup and utensils.