While baking is a bit of my forte, I don’t claim to be any good at cooking (I can follow recipes well but am not super innovative). But since M. and I have been together, I have tried to cook more, whether that means trying out new things on him or cooking our meals together.
But this summer has been a bit crazy, in that we are both working outside of the home, and afterward I often have work at home while he has band practice a few nights a week, and both of us end up being too tired to cook. So we have simple meals, or we eat out.
Thursday night was one such night. We were both hungry, it was kind of cold and there was a threat of rain, and soup sounded filling, warm, healthy, and inexpensive. So we headed to Dúc Tâm Quán, a little hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese place around the corner. It’s not amazing food by any means, but it’s still pretty good, and priced fairly.
We arrived and it was pretty packed, but we managed to grab the only empty table inside, gave our orders, and hung out until our food came out.
While I am absolutely terrible (bordering on useless) when it comes to using chopsticks–not to mention the sound of wood against wood, like when people sharpen their chopsticks, drives me mad–I always appreciate that there are plenty of them available in Asian restaurants (along with normal Western world utensils, which I am much more skilled at using). Anyway, plastic chopsticks are my favourite, material-wise, but the packaged ones here are awesome, largely in part due to their Engrish labeling.
Decor is always interesting too. M. tells me this place used to be an Italian pizza joint, the evidence of which is seen in the paintings on the walls. But there are some uniquely Asian touches, such as this wooden dragon that was hanging out next to our table. Also, there are hanging paper lanterns, such as the one in the photo below, plus a handful of subtle touches, like a fountain on the front counter. Admittedly, a somewhat stagnant ambiance, but they’re trying…
Here is a backward photo of the menu, which is pretty uncomplicated in its offering. Regardless, it still boasts some soups, rice and noodle dishes, and tasty (and cheap) summer rolls! The latter also come with a sweet and sour dipping sauce that I am basically obsessed with.
And here, ze Tzzzurrrrrrmann demonstrates how dexterous his command of chopsticks is. Meanwhile, I ate my pho with a fork.
M. always get his soup with vegetables. This time around, it didn’t have enough, or so he said. He ate every bite though, and was pretty full/satisfied at the end.
Here’s an assortment of things to flavour the soup with. M. uses lime. I used some of the hot stuff (pepper? chili?). That plus soy sauce was pretty perfect. It could have been a little hotter though, and I wouldn’t have complained.
And here’s my pho with tofu and no cilantro, ’cause I kind of hate cilantro. I wasn’t as ambitious as M., meaning I didn’t finish, but I am not much of a broth fan, so I think I made a solid dent by the end, all things considered.