Whenever I go back to Canada, I always exercise extra hard the month before in anticipation of all the food I’ll eat once I am home. Growing up in a family that’s passionate about eating, food is a big part of our get-togethers. Weeks before I leave for Canada, my mom will call so we can discuss what I want to eat when I am home. In New York, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of good authentic Vietnamese food available surprisingly, so when I am in Canada the goal is to indulge in as much Vietnamese noodle soup as I can.
As a Vietnamese person, I think Pho is in my DNA. I always find myself craving it, so of course, our first stop from the airport is to swing over to Mississauga to grab a bowl of slurpy goodness. This time we tried Phở Hưng. They just opened a new store, so everything is still brand spanking new and clean. I got the Phở Hưng special in small because it was 2:30 pm and dinner is in 4 hours. Even though it’s a small, it was definitely big enough as a lunch meal. Their broth is flavorful, and not too salty. The thing that I liked the most is that their rare beef slices are hand cut and tenderized. You don’t often see this anywhere else except in Viet Nam because most other places have the machine cut sliced beef that just doesn’t taste the same. This place is a bit pricey, $7 for a small bowl of pho compared to other similar restaurants, but their portions are big and the side serving of bean sprouts and herbs are generous.
It is seriously amiss if I talked about noodle soup without mentioning bun bo hue (spicy beef soup). However, not just any bun bo hue, my mom’s bun bo hue. I might be biased, but her soup tastes better than anything else I’ve tried so far. It is a combination of tangy sweetness that’s perfectly balanced by the spiciness. She claims that the secret ingredient is pineapple juice. Every time each of us come home, there is always a bubbling pot of bun bo hue waiting. There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of good food.
Traveling with my parents when I was younger, I remembered everywhere they go, the first thing my dad would look for is a restaurant that has noodle soups. One time we were in Buffalo, in our hotel room, scrolling through the phone book looking for a Pho restaurant back before Pho became popular. I used to roll my eyes and tell him to try to eat something new. Now that I am older, I finally get it. It’s not about the food, it’s about that feeling of home. Whenever I come home after traveling for awhile, this is what I crave. Whenever I am sick, this is what makes me feel better. It’s comfort food.