Pho Dau Bo – Calgary, AB
Calgary, AB T2A 0V5
(403) 272-5160 Open Sun-Thu, 10am – 8pm, Fri-Sat 10am – 9pm
Original post below:
There is something to be said for the familiar. While branching out, being “adventurous”, getting a wider view of the world are important things, sometimes we want…comfort. Soothing. Reassurance. Familiarty. Pho Sate is one of those things. I can’t explain it. While i love a multitude of different Vietnamese dishes, more often than not, i always order the Pho Sate. Especially when it’s good. With a limited number of meals left in my lifetime, i want to enjoy every single one. Some days, it is rewarding to unearth new places – recognizing the proprietors that do right by the customer, and serve good honest food. Somedays, it’s just another bowl of Pho Sate. Especially at Pho Dau Bo.
A small establishment on “International” Avenue in Calgary, 17 Street SE, Pho Dau Bo serves up a very limited menu of Vietnamese specialties. While not particularly cheap, and definitely not undiscovered, they nonetheless serve up a winning combination – good food, quickly. The establishment is often packed with patrons of all races – speaking both to the quality of the food, and to the cross-nationality appeal that Vietnamese cuisine has reached.
With such a limited menu, i wish i could report on an extensive number of dishes. Unfortunately, i can’t. When I go to Pho Dau Bo, i order the Pho Sate (large), pay my $9.00, and proceed to enjoy what i consider to be a top 3 Pho Sate in Calgary (depending on my mood). Loaded with perfect firmness of noodles, tender, thinly sliced beef, scallions galore, and a rich, heady, spicy peanut flavour, this bowl is familiarity. The freshness of the garnishes – crisp sprouts, nice ngo gai, Thai basil, lime, and bird chili, are a testament to the quality, and to the turnover, even 30 minutes before closing on a Sunday night.
Thankfully, other dining companions occasionally order other dishes. Take the Bun Thit Nuong (Grilled Pork) – thinly sliced, wonderfully charred, smoky, caramelized slices of pork with fresh vegetables on a softened pile of vermicelli. Delicious. Tasty. Wonderfully executed. Meat lovers rejoice – this is meat! Yet, it is not Pho Sate.
Maybe someday i will be able to do better, and report on more dishes. Maybe one day, i will truly attempt to sample the dozens of other Vietnamese establishments on the same strip (3 others in the same strip mall complex alone!). Or maybe, someday, will find me at Pho Dau Bo, seated at the same table, with the same order of Pho Sate, and the same grin on my face. That will not be the worst of days.