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Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure everyone loves a good bowl of pho. It’s got this warm, comforting flavour that makes you feel right again, or at least helps you along the way to getting there (esp key in winter). The broth is usually made from simmered beef bones, oxtails and onions but unsurprisingly, every pho establishment ends up with a different final product, some preferring to use more onion for flavour, while others rely more heavily on spices like ginger and cinnamon. In terms of toppings and add-ins, the offerings are typically bean sprouts, Thai basil leaves, red chili and a selection of various sauces. I like mine with extra lime, extra bean sprouts and a touch of sriracha.
There is just something about pho that brings people together. This is especially true on cold, frigid days like the ones we’ve been having here in Montreal lately. -20 and -30 degree weather? Yikes. A bowl of tasty, warm soup and noodles warms you up like nothing else. Looking for just that effect, we headed to Pho Bang New York in Chinatown for some of the good stuff.
Making our way through the perpetual crush of people in New York City, we headed towards Nom Wah Tea Parlour for a late dim sum lunch. Our journey there was seemingly maze-like – I couldn’t tell where we had come from, how we had got there or how we even got out. Almost hidden, the restaurant is tucked into a bend on a street just off the main. After reading up on the history of Doyer street, I learned that it has been called the “Bloody Angle” for the numerous shootings and gang related violence that occurred there back in the mid 20th century. Whoa.
Kam Fung offers the most authentic and traditionally found dim sum dishes in the entire city. Legendary by name, it is easy to see how popular they are by the hordes of people lining the restaurant entrance come noon. The best time to come in order to avoid the wait time is just before the rush, at 11:30. There is a tradeoff though – while service is quick (it always is), the food is hot and there is less clamor around while eating, there is greater variety in the dishes served during rush hour. By no means am I saying that the dishes served before aren’t good – on the contrary! There is just more choice later on. You’ve been told. For those who have never been, it is perhaps a good idea to go along with someone who has some experience in ordering dishes as it may seem overwhelming at first – people are constantly shouting, and it’s not in English. There is a regular flow of traffic in the restaurant, enabled by diners leaving after their meals or just settling in as well as the always moving body of cart ladies hawking their foods.
One of those quick in and out restaurants, Sumo Ramen specializes in… you guessed it. Ramen noodles. The large cartoon sumo wrestler that represents the place is instantly recognizable, giving the place a bit of edge over say, Hakata Ramen. With the majority of the clientele being student based, the prices are friendly and quite reasonable. We ordered a Heineken and a standard milk tea with bubbles. I have to say that the bubble tea here is not the best you can get in the city. The milk tea did not taste super fresh – more like it was made out of a powder or something concentrated. The tapioca balls seemed thin and lacked substance – they were not chewy or bouncy like you would expect them to be. I would suggest going to Magic Idea for a proper cup of bubble tea instead. I do definitely appreciate Sumo Ramen’s effort though.
I first really took notice of My Cup of Tea when I went to Oysterfest earlier last month. MCOT had a booth during the event and were handing out free trial cups of tea that were absolutely delicious! I traded in my last two tickets for eight tea packets and since then, I’ve been hooked.