Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Pho Files: Vegetarian Rice Noodle Soup

Rice Noodle Soup by raise my voice
Rice Noodle Soup, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

Veggie Garden Restaurant on 105 Avenue and 100 Street fills a gap in Chinatown in a number of ways. First, it replaces another Vietnamese restaurant that came before and second, it steps into the place that Oriental Veggie House left when it closed as the only fully vegetarian restaurant in Chinatown.

I ordered a rice noodle soup with tofu, mushrooms, dried bean curd, veggie ham, and veggie chicken. It was basically a vegetarian version of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) with the works. The large bowl was full of noodles, different kinds of mushrooms, and the various proteins. The veggie ham was definitely the winner - it looked and tasted similar to the real thing. The veggie chicken had a chicken-like taste, with a texture similar to skin. The few cubes of tofu were fried and the bean curd was chewy and sweet.

The broth is not as rich as its meat counterpart, and tasted as though it got most of its flavour from mushrooms. However, the result is much lighter and without greasy residue on one's lips.

As well, the soup here is a bargain at only $7 a bowl (most of the other menu items are less than $10).

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