I’m a big fan of Vietnamese noodle soup — pho.
There isn’t a Chinatown area in Peterborough where you might expect to find dozens of pho joints, as there is in Ottawa, but the nearby Thai/Tibetan fusion restaurant Karma’s Cafe has pho on the menu. Today I went down at lunchtime to give it a try.
I usually get some Vietnamese spring rolls with my pho, but at Karma’s they only have Thai spring rolls. I’ll try them another time, but today I went for the Tibetan Momos instead.
Described as ‘Ground eye rib steak, fresh white onions, cilantro and green onions’, they are a savoury dumpling — very tasty — but mostly consisting of a wheat flour wrapper.
I don’t really like to eat much wheat, but I did. It’s Christmas time after all. The momos were very nice, but next time I think I’ll try the Thai spring rolls.
The pho is ‘pho bo’. Beef pho, that is — Vietnamese cows say bo instead of moo. (And their chickens say ga.)
The pho came in a square bowl with all the trimmings already piled on top, unlike Ottawa Vietnamese pho, which comes with the trimmings on a separate plate for you to add yourself.
Ottawa Vietnamese pho comes with basil, coriander, bean sprouts, a red pepper or two, and a wedge of lime. This pho had most of that, but no red pepper or coriander, with the addition of carrot and beet strips and (I think) baby bok choys. Instead of a lime wedge it had lemon, reminding me of Ottawa’s Kowloon Market, where the limes are called ‘green lemons’.
No chili sauce or fish sauce was provided, and BTW, this is the kind of restaurant where if you think there should be salt and pepper shakers on the tables you are insulting the chef. (But I’ll overlook that for now.)
The pho tasted pretty good, but not quite like real pho. I think there might have been some oxo cubes in the broth. I don’t really blame them; it must be a lot harder to come up with one bowl of tasty pho on a slow day in Peterborough during the Christmas season than it is to produce huge vats of it, as the Vietnamese places in Ottawa do every day.
Anyway, I had a lovely time eating my momos and pho, sipping a half pint of Mill St. Tankhouse, reading the Globe and Mail, and looking out the window at a wintry Peterborough day. I’m not sure if I’ll get pho again at Karma’s Cafe, but there is lots of other cool stuff on the menu to try.
A year ago today:
Self portrait on a bridge
December 26, 2011
Somerset & Booth
December 26, 2009