I love Vietnamese.
In essence, this makes Calgary the perfect place to live as you can hardly walk a block without running into a community pho joint.
The tricky part is, I’ve been to Vietnam. I’ve had pho directly from the source, sitting on tiny stools around a tiny table as an old woman stirs a giant pot on a hot plate – motorbikes, bicycles and people crowding by a hairs breadth away. Rich, meaty broth, with fresh basil, squeezed lime paired with a warm beer. Sigh.
Anyways, once you’ve experienced that. It can be tricky to get back into Canadian pho but there certainly are some worthwhile places to try, including my favourite, Minh Chau in Inglewood. Also that being said, the pull for Vietnamese flavours is strong so it’s always fun to check out a new place.
A couple days ago a co-worker and I checked out Pho Hao in the same shopping centre as the northeast Jysk, just off 36th Street.
Firstly props for decor. Pho Hao is pretty darn big and is bedecked with sweet faux bamboo tables and chairs. Concrete floors make for easy cleaning and there’s some fake flowers and plants to put you in a tropical mood.
We got there just in time for lunch and as more and more people wandered in, it added to our meal waiting time. I went with bun. Grilled chicken and chicken spring rolls with vermicelli.
It was one big ass bowl – seemingly bigger than you’re usual Vietnamese offering. The veggies were fresh but the chicken was a tidge overdone for my liking. To be honest, the best part of my meal was the tea. Fragrant, hot jasmine served in adorable tiny, white tea cups.
My co-worked went with the salad rolls – they accommodated her request for both chicken and shrimp and she gave them, and the sauce, the thumbs up.
Pho Hao served its purpose as a quick, new lunch spot, and drew a big lunch time crowd – but I think I’ll check out a few more Vietnamese offerings in the city before I head back.
Chicken and chicken spring rolls, tea and salad rolls: $26