Toronto has a diverse cultural population and we love it. For example, did you know that Toronto has the largest Italian population next to Rome? We have Little Italy, Little India, Greektown, Korea Town, Chinatown, well you get my drift. When you enter these small areas (sometimes only one street, or two or three blocks) you are transformed from being in big city Toronto to being in Italy or even India! We are indeed very fortunate to be able to live safely, peacefully and embrace our diverse cultures. We LOVE this, particularly the FOOD!
Very close to where I work, there are a couple of Vietnamese restaurants; we sometimes go to a place called Asia 21. It’s not pretty, but the food is fresh and good and family run; the only bad side is that they only take cash, and they are not licensed (somehow this type of food does not pair well with wine anyway, but I still love it!) I am addicted to Phô, a clear beef broth with very thinly sliced rare beef, rice noodles and herbs; it’s ‘Happy food’ or Vietnamese comfort food. I totally get it, I can eat this for every meal, every day! Sadly, there is so MUCH salt in the restaurant versions that I swell up like a dirigible on Superbowl Sunday — not a pretty site! We’ve started making our own so we can control the salt. I must say, I like it even better. The temperatures in Toronto couldn’t be less like soup weather…but I have to say, I have missed my Phô! It’s humid and unseasonably warm, NOT complaining! JT made an excellent Phô last night, and I had it for lunch today (did I mention that I can eat this EVERY DAY?). We’ve adapted Canadian Living’s Beef Phô (click for original recipe) A delicately fragrant beef broth, with ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise. It’s really a flavour explosion in your mouth. We season it with fresh mint, cilantro and thai basil. I also add hoisin sauce (sweet) and Sriracha Sauce (hot, they call it Asian Catsup). My mouth is watering as I type this on my iPad (sitting at the island in the kitchen while JT cooks up another specialty, Israeli Couscous and Grilled Shrimp). YUM! I am a very fortunate woman.