Guest Server at Wong's Restaurant Leamington

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So, last night after all my excitement about how popular the blog was becoming, I got a call from my friend Adam. His parents own Wong's Restaurant & Dining Lounge, 60 Mill St W Leamington, Ontario (519) 326-9049.

No, no... I didn't go there to review his parents' restaurant. That wouldn't be fair (the plug was a given though). Actually, they were needing an extra hand for their Sunday morning shift. I of course was more than happy to help. Let me tell you-- I was sure glad I did! As a special treat, Adam's parents cooked up phở (pronounced 'fa') for lunch. Adam's mother is from Vietnam, and his father is from Chinese descent  however both grew up in Haiphong, a Vietnamese city along the Chinese border. So these guys definitely know their phở!

Phở is a traditional Vietnamese soup served in a bowl, with a specific cut of white rice noodles (called bánh phở'), in clear beef/chicken broth. The broth is generally made by simmering beef or chicken bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, and spices, taking several hours to prepare. Seasonings tend to include cinnamon, star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. I know you are just picturing all of that flavour in one bowl right now. :)

Vietnamese dishes are typically garnished and served with lots of leafy greens, herbs (Thai basil), vegetables (spring onions, bean sprouts, fresh chilli peppers), spicy sauces/pastes,  and a squeeze of lime or lemon.

This isn't something on the menu, so don't go there asking for it! This was a lucky Sunday lunch with the Hoangs. 

I've had my share of phở in the past at a variety of restaurants but none can compare to the Hoang's. Mrs. Hoang says the secret is no MSG (which other Vietnamese restaurants all use as a preservative), and HIGH-QUALITY meat (in our case Oxtail) which gives the broth greater depth without the need to overdo it on the other pungent spices such as star anise.

I think perhaps a video blog with Mr. and Mrs. Hoang might be a good touch to this blog. Perhaps, they'd be willing to do a video tutorial of how to make the most perfect bowl of phở. I'll keep you posted ;)


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