HOUSE SPECIAL || A Family Endeavour to Innovate Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine

It’s not your usual Vietnamese eatery.

Patrick Do and his sister Victoria grew up in the restaurant industry, helping out at their parent’s restaurant in various capacities. They have always had the idea to open up a culinary venture of their own, but inevitably wen their own ways to pursue careers in the film and real estate industry.

While their parent’s restaurant has served the same menu for the past thirty years, Patrick and Victoria were excited to ‘do something different’ with the dishes they had grown up eating and thus House Special was born in 2016. House special serves up a modern line up of Vietnamese cuisine classics, from piping hot soup noodles to spring rolls and Lemongrass chicken, you will experience tasty comfort food you will come back for time and again.

Nestled in the Yaletown neighbourhood in Vancouver, House Special has a spacious outdoor patio that would be perfect for the summertime. Inside the restaurant the decor is simple and laid back, with a bar area for solo diners and cozy booths lining one side of the restaurant.

Simple tableware.

A quick glance through the menu shows that every item packs delicious flavour, from the crunch of the garden spring rolls, to the satay fried rice and traditional frybread packed with savoury goodness.

When asked what makes House Special different from other Vietnamese restaurants, Victoria says “I think it's our willingness to play around with the cuisine. We want to present the best version of traditional dishes, introduce people to dishes they may not have tried before, and push the boundaries of what Vietnamese food is.”

It’s a family endeavour to deliver on this commitment, with Victoria managing the business, Patrick collaborating with their mom on recipes and mom bringing the culinary aspirations to life in the kitchen. Dad also contributes with advice and a helping hand with renovations. Family recipes are integrated into the menu, with Uncle Hing’s hot sauce used to flavour the delicious chicken wings.

After hearing about the brother and sister team’s excitement for their innovative dishes, we were excited to try a few of the signature dishes. Within moments the vibrant dishes start to arrive at our table. The Shaken Beef served in a cast iron bowl atop steamed rice is intensely flavoured with the wok-seared beer tenderloin and greens. The beef is cut into small bite-size portions and the juices are retained within every bite. The natural juices of the beef filter down into the rice, mixing in the essence of the beef into the steaming hot rice.

Shaken Beef. Wok-seared beef tenderloin and dressed greens served on cast-iron steamed rice.

Small bite-sized beef.

The Crispy Chicken Frybread was next and we could hardly put it down. Traditional frybreads are served hollow, and the House Special team made it their own by filling frybreads with savoury ingredients, such as the southern fried chicken pictured below. The deep fried chicken with aioli and cilantro emitted a tasty aroma, and the crispy chicken wrapped in the thin sesame bun makes it a perfect grab and go lunch option. The frybread is made in-house daily for maximum freshness.

Crispy Chicken Frybread. Handmade sesame coated frybread filled with southern fried chicken, pickled red cabbage slaw, aioli, topped with cilantro.

The Vietnamese Seafood Coral serves up savoury, crunchy, aromatic goodness, with mixed root and mung bean fritter with shrimp and squid, topped with coconut milk and served with nouc cham fish sauce. Just the scent of the dish will make your mouth water. Regardless of whether it’s a salad or a seafood dish, each of the culinary delights we were served comes with a satisfying ‘crunch’.

Vietnamese Seafood Coral. Mixed root and mung bean fritter with shrimp and squid, topped with coconut milk; served with nouc cham fish sauce.

Even the Grilled Pork Salad Roll’s fresh lettuce, vermicelli, fresh herbs and Vietnamese pickles wrapped in rice paper give off a similar satisfying crunch with every bite.

Grilled Pork Salad Roll. Grilled pork, cucumber, vermicelli, fresh herbs & Vietnamese pickles wrapped in rice paper. Served with peanut sauce.

Along with these lovely dishes, the House Special team has also crafted a cocktail menu to go with their flavourful dishes. The Lavender Baby No.2 cocktail is a smokey lavender and mezcal cocktail with delicate lavender petals as the finishing touch. The Kaffir Lime Collins is a lime leaf infused gin with citrus and soda. Whether you are craving a cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine, House Special will have the perfect drink to go with your meal.

Who wouldn’t want a table full of crispy, crunchy, savoury and saucy deliciousness? Be it the vegetables or the freshly made frybread, every bite packs a crunch. Visit House Special in Yaletown today to try out their innovative Vietnamese menu items.


1269 Hamilton St, Vancouver

(778) 379-2939

Photos by Florence Leung