Pho Real

By Mathilde Rabbat

Pho, also widely known as Tonkinese soup, has long been a staple of the Vietnamese diet that provides an affordable and satisfying option for either lunch or dinner—especially for those on the go, as the broth in which all ingredients wade is prepared well ahead of the serving time, while other elements can quickly be tailored to order. Though various interpretations abound, a translucent broth (usually beef stock) and a heap of fl at rice noodles are essential components of this popular dish. Most interpretations encourage customers themselves to add other all important ingredients to the soup, as clearly no pho experience would be complete without tearing a few aromatic Thai basil leaves from their stems, destined to be thrown into the broth, along with a heap of fresh bean sprouts, and a twist of lime, all of which are typically delivered on a separate dish in anticipation of the piping bowl’s arrival.


5703 B, Chemin de la Côte-des-Neiges
T : 514-735-6949

Attractive midday specials make of Vietnamese eatery Pho Lien a favourite with the lunchtime crowd pounding the pavement at the bustling intersection of Côte-Sainte- Catherine and Côte-des-Neiges. Despite the specials, there will always be those who will prefer the ever popular pho bo (beef soup) to any lunch special. This type of pho can be enjoyed in a variety of permutations. Rare beef, well-done flank, brisket, soft tendons, tripes are all up for grabs. These can be savoured alone, or in various pho combos featuring the bits of your choice. A rather respectable chin nam gan, for example, showcases well-done strips of beef and flank, as well as a few large soft tendons, in an uncomplicated broth. The undecided might however appreciate the tai nam gau gan sach, one of the eatery’s specialities, and the king of all phos, which incorporates absolutely all of the aforementioned beef ingredients. Talk about a meal in a dish.


1001, boul. Saint-Laurent
T : 514-954-2032

Pho Bang New York, located in Chinatown, on the Main just North of Viger, is one pho establishment where foodies will most definitely get good bang for their buck. A farir size dining hall can accommodate several hungry punters willing to share their tables with strangers in search of a satisfying pho. A large picture menu depicts phos of all stripes, as well as extra ingredients, like beef balls, that can additionally be purchased to provide the soup with even more substance. For the poultry lover, the pho ga nuong rau stars grilled chicken strips along with a collection of veggies. Those more inclined to a meatless pho, however, will no doubt appreciate the pho rau, a vegetable Tonkinese soup well stocked with a heap of raw vegetables, including napa cabbage, suspended in a flavourful clear broth. For added zing, any pho can be spruced up with a choice of sweet or spicy sauces.


6414, rue Saint-Denis (près Beaubien)
T : 514-273-5627

St. Denis, near Beaubien, is where you’ll find Pho Tay Ho, without a doubt the author of some of the best phos in the city. Pens are provided at each table so that punters can tick and circle selections on a menu card, as one does when ordering sushi. As is the case with many pho eateries in town, this one also accommodates palates that may not necessarily be partial to beef, as chicken phos, a vegetable pho and sea food phos also figure in the offerings. All phos are apparently concocted with freshly made chicken stock, rendering the broth slightly more opaque, than many of the versions served elsewhere. The fact that the vegetables in the pho raus are stir fried before they hit the bowl also greatly impacts the flavour of the soup which takes on the juices of its sautéed content, a definite bonus. The pho do bien voi rau, a seafood and vegetable number including scallops, shrimp, crab meat and tasty sautéed veggies, is a must-have.

Fall 2010, Vol 2 N°4

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