With a full menu of dishes from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, The Union is Vancouver’s one-stop shop for fresh and flavourful Southeast Asian cuisine. Tucked behind the Jimi Hendrix Shrine on a dimly lit corner in Chinatown, The Union creates an enjoyable fusion experience by serving delicious food and custom cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere.
The interior of the restaurant was warm and inviting. As we walked through the front doors we were greeted by a welcoming hostess and the pleasant smell of fresh herbs and citrus wafting from the open kitchen. Large, turquoise lamps hung from the exposed ceiling over rows of benches and long, community-style tables. We were seated near the kitchen (where the scents of lemongrass and ginger were even more pronounced) and began to salivate with anticipation.
To start, we shared a pitcher of Phaedra Belgian Rye IPA and an order of sweet and sour pork crêpes. The crêpes, served open-faced, were piled high with tender pulled pork and a spicy pineapple slaw. While the pork was more sweet than savoury, a garnish of fresh cilantro, lime, and sliced red chillies created a perfect balance of flavours.
Next, we shared three entrées: chả cá Hanoi, a Vietnamese dish of vermicelli noodles, turmeric, and coconut milk; nasi goreng, Indonesia’s version of fried rice; and a bún vermicelli bowl, a Vietnamese noodle salad topped with crispy pork belly and fried egg.
While each dish impressed us, nothing compared to the brilliant colours and exotic flavours of the chả cá Hanoi. Topped with Pacific cod and a handful of fresh herbs, the chả cá Hanoi gave us exactly what we were looking for: the perfect combination of eastern and western flavours.