Ever since I saw the film Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter I’ve been dreaming of visiting Vietnam with its breath taking scenery. Since that is not in my immediate reality, I can still enjoy the taste of Vietnam around town.
I remember first trying Pho on a trip with my aunt and uncle in California when I couldn’t have been more that 15. All I remember is this crazy soup with all these rubbery pink floaties in it. I think my pallet has refined since then or maybe I just know what to order now.
** The first Pho place I tried in Calgary was Saigon Y2k in Chinatown. The setting was your standard booth and table space with a few fish tanks and a golden Feng Shui cat on the counter. The challenge is finding good vegetarian broth, which Saigon Y2K did succeed in doing. The veggies were bright green, which always alarms me, and the carrot slices were huge, which begs me to ask, where are the organic pho places in town?
***A while later I stumbled upon one of my favourite Pho places in Calgary, Lotus Vietnamese Noodle House on Macleod Trail SE. I have to be honest, what appealed to me most about this place initially was the exposed-brick south wall, which is where I asked to be seated. The broth was good here and the bowls enormous. Same issue with the carrots but there are lots of condiments on the table to cover up the GMO taste… But honestly, I always have a good time when I come here.
* I had a slightly worse experience across the street at Viet Nam Restaurant. My biggest beef with this place is that everything looks and feels a little grimy. Now don’t get me wrong, I know those places often have the best food, but that wasn’t the case here. I found the broth and dish itself quite flavourless and left feeling uninspired.
** Lastly, my experience of A Touch of Ginger in Kensington. It’s not quite pho, but pho is served there, I had a delicious tofu satay here that I still think about. It was simple yet packed with flavour and served on a bed of vermicelli noodles. Definitely try it.
So I guess I’m still searching for a Pho place that has it all: a crunchy organic carrot, a handsome condiment assortment, and a flavourful vegetarian broth. I think I’m just really going to have to go to Vietnam. Any suggestions?