There is a definite lack of Vietnamese restaurants in Greater Victoria, BC’s West Shore communities, but we did find one! Located inside Langford’s Reflections building on the corner of Veterans Memorial Parkway and Hoffman Avenue, Culis Market is a convenience store with a mini cafe inside serving Taiwanese-invented bubble tea and a limited selection of reasonably priced Vietnamese favorites.
Shrimp salad rolls with accompanying peanut dipping were offered in Culis Market’s cold food section for eat-in or takeout. Special banh mi included plenty of ingredients making it quite a tasty, substantial sandwich. However, the texture of the roll was more like a kaiser bun rather than a traditional Vietnamese take on a French style baguette. This type of Vietnamese baguette contains wheat and rice flour, creating a shatteringly crisp and very thin crust with a light and airy interior – like most banh mi in Vancouver. (Our experience with baguettes from street cart banh mi in Vietnam was actually a little different, see here.) Since bread is a key component of this type of sandwich, the bread at Culis Market might throw someone off who’s a banh mi aficionado. But we were just thankful to see it offered on the menu since Greater Victoria has slim pickings when it comes to banh mi.
Both bowls of pho contained generous amounts of sliced beef and adequate portion sizes of perfectly cooked noodles. The broth of the rare beef pho was nicely balanced and would bode well for someone who’s a pho newby. Surprisingly, the spicy pho’s broth wasn’t as hot as it looks in the photo. Not a big deal though as there was plenty of Sriracha sauce provided on the table to intensify the dish’s heat level.