Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pho and Egg Rolls on a Game Night - Updated

A few days ago, EU and I went to see the visiting Florida Panthers play against the Ottawa Senators. My uncle offered to take us out for pho before the game since the Scotiabank Place isn’t the best place for food. I couldn’t say no. They hadn’t been to Koi Asia or the former Pho Mi 108, so I suggested that we go there instead of Kanata Centrum.

Once we sat down at the empty restaurant, I reassured my uncle that this is one of my favourite joints when I crave pho. That seemed to do the trick, but I thought I’d add one more thing; Koi Asia has chefs that make a decent rice noodle with black bean sauce. My uncle was hooked.


We quietly looked over the menu. My uncle broke the silence with a laugh. He directed my attention to the description of the rice noodles with black bean sauce… or should I say “balck becan sauce.” We all had a few tries at pronouncing the typo and laughed at the ridiculously sounding sounds we made. We’re such trolls.

Even though we were the only people in the restaurant, the lady and the man working didn’t pay any attention to us. Sure, it’s uncomfortable when the service staff hovers over you, but it’s also very annoying when they don't even pay attention at all.


Nevertheless, we flagged them down, gave them our order and waited for the food to come. EU wanted to make a ying-yang out of the hoisin and Sriracha sauce. I showed him what it sort of looked like. I realize now that I shouldn’t have encouraged him.


I got a small bowl of pho with slightly fatty beef and beef balls. EU asked for a large bowl of pho with tendons, beef balls, tripe, and medium-rare beef. The waiter looked confused at EU and then looked at my uncle. The waiter had to ask my uncle if EU had meant a small or medium bowl instead. Nope. My uncle wanted to have some pho as well, which was why he told EU to get a large bowl. Imagine if you overhead a 10-year-old kid tried to order a large bowl of pho. Hahaa!


My uncle got the rice noodles with black bean sauce. It was glistening when the plate arrived at the table. “I can eat this all week, everyday,” he quipped.

The bowl of soup to the bottom right corner of the photo is my uncle’s. He took some soup, noodles, and most of the protein from EU’s large bowl of pho. Other then that, EU finished all the noodles and the rest of the protein. He was close to finishing the soup in his bowl – two spoons away. I couldn’t believe he ate that much! What a kid... Like father, like son.


While at the game, I wanted to try Golden Palace’s egg rolls. According to a lot of people, the egg rolls were one of the best in Ottawa. At $6.50 a serving, I was hoping they would be decent.


I was presented this tray. The first impressions weren’t good. Two large open-ended egg rolls, cut in half.


The egg roll was on the thicker side. There was a thin crisp layer, but the rest of the wrapper was soggy. The egg roll was packed with lightly seasoned pork and cabbage filling. It was pretty disappointing. But at least they were moist.

Although the egg rolls were disappointing, the Sens’ effort was the opposite. Sens won 4-3. Ottawa couldn’t defend their one goal lead. They allowed the Panthers come back with under a minute to go. It looked like the game was going into overtime, but then the Sens scored with about four seconds left in the game. VN summed up the game with two words, “epic win.”

*Update on Feb. 2012:
My most recent trip to Koi Asia for pho was in February. I had ordered the same bowl of pho (slightly fatty beef with beef balls) and found a few things different. The first thing I noticed right away was that they had skimped on the protein. If I had put together the three slivers of beef balls that I was given, it would've probably added to half a beef ball. Beef balls aren't even that large to begin with.

The second thing I noticed was that the pho soup tasted watered down and sweetened. I could've just had a bad batch. Now in saying all of this, I totally understand that Koi Asia is no longer a Vietnamese/pho restaurant. Rather, it's a Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurant that makes better stir-fried dishes than bowls of pho. I'd recommend sticking to the Chinese sections of their menu.*


We'd love to hear your thoughts!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...