Fresh, flavourful, and flaming are words that accurately describe the dining experience at Lang Restaurant; the first all you can eat Vietnamese barbeque and hot pot restaurant in Canada.
After travelling around Asia, Lyn Vo and her husband decided to sell their Pho restaurant in Fonthill, ON and open up a different kind of Asian eating establishment. “We eat this way at home and wanted to offer an all you can eat experience to people who want to try our style of home cooking,” explains Vo.
This one of a kind restaurant is divided into two areas: hot pot and barbeque. Both styles involve cooking over a flame built into your table. The hot pot side is all you can eat pho, a savoury type of vietnamese soup traditionally made with noodles and thinly sliced meats, seasoning, and vegetables. Diners select their desired broth, meat, fish, or vegetables to simmer in a large pot in the centre of the table.
The other side is a smoke free grill. Using tongs, and staff to adjust the flame, meat and vegetables are cooked to your liking. Lang Restaurant offers a variety of meat, poultry, and fish to choose from. “Our meats and fish are marinated in recipes my family brought here from their home country,” says Vo. “We like to give people an opportunity to try them. Some of our most popular menu items are: beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, sausage, squid, beef ribs, salmon, lamb, and muscles,” says Vo.
With several raw vegetables to choose from, the meat on your grill won’t be lonely. Zucchini, peppers, onion, mushrooms, eggplant, and corn on the cob are a few grilling items.
Unsure of what sauces pair with the different meat, poultry, and fish, Lang staff is always willing to offer suggestions. “Many of our sauces are homemade,” says Vo. “We have a lot of people that need an allergy free option. All of our sauces are without soy and are gluten free,” says Vo.
Not every item in the restaurant is made to order. “We have a buffet of hot and cold items to choose from,” says Vo. Vegetable fried rice, chicken wings, barbecue pork ribs, vegetable chow mein, deep fried spring rolls, vegetable stir fry, and gluten free rice balls are a few of the items to add to your meal.
Staff will switch out the grill to provide a fresh one for dessert. Try the grilled cinnamon and sugar pineapple with ice cream to finish off the meal.
At Lang Restaurant it is certainly a family affair.
“I am lucky my husband works with me or I would never see him,” she says. We are never at home. “The long hours are what makes the restaurant business hard. It is a 24 hour a day job.”
Vo’s parents, who own Pho Dau Bo in the plaza beside Lang Restaurant also provide support. “The restaurant used to be Helen’s Florist. My dad is very hands on and helped redesign what used to be Helen’s Florist into the restaurant you see today.”
Growing up in the family business, Vo has benefitted from her dad’s “hands on” style of training. “We had a business in aesthetics before the restaurants. My dad came in one day and said he wanted to make a change,” explains Vo. “My dad went to Toronto and Mississauga to work for free as an apprentice to a Pho restaurant owner,” says Vo. Working for free alongside her family as a server at the Mississauga location gave Vo valuable experience to bring back to the Niagara restaurant industry.
With two different styles of Vietnamese cooking to choose from it is clear why Lang Restaurant is quickly becoming one of Niagara’s go-to spots for an all you can eat experience. Homer Simpson was right, “you don’t win friends with salad.” Bring your first date, family, or confidants and ignite your taste buds, at Lang Restaurant. “It’s all about the experience here,” says Vo.