Joe Pho Vietnamese Cuisine
A few days ago I excitedly busted into the recently-opened doors at Joe Pho Vietnamese Cuisine on Lansdowne St in downtown Kamloops. Shiny and well-renovated, this local eatery is completely unrecognizable from its former incarnation as a bare-roomed vacant storefront. There are several tables, cafe-style, as well as a soup slurpin’ bar along the wall. At the counter, I ordered the House Salad Roll ($4.75), and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee ($3).
The roll had scrummy savoury components, including tender pork (sourced from the Chop ‘n’ Block, if I eavesdropped correctly), firm shrimp, pickled veggies and rice noodles with peanut sauce for dippin’. I later saw there were hot chiles in oil, hoisin and sriracha sauces also on the table. A note about the dippin’: I found the roll to be a bit too loosely rolled, and as a result, some of the fillings dropped into my peanut dip. Perhaps more veg/noodles would make a rounder, firmer, more fully-packed salad roll.
The iced coffee made a great finish to my mini-meal. This brew is definitely rich enough to compete with the sweetened-condensed milk and was not at all bitter. Another sweet available to round out your lunch/dinner is Charred Bananas with Five Spice.
I will be visiting again, next time to try the Pho. My extensive eavesdropping on the owner (who you may recognize from the artful At Your Service Catering), revealed they will, as of today (Friday Sept 26) be carrying beef tendon, tripe and marrow sourced also from the Chop ‘n’ Block. It might not be present on the posted menu yet, so be sure to ask for these nourishing variety meats in your next bowl of pho. An aside: I have eaten tripe in Vietnamese soup before, and I’ve often since yearned for that tasty, chewy, spongey goodness.
One more note (and I’m going to be holding more restaurants to task for this): I’m hoping more eateries will be moving away from disposable serving plates/cups/etc. Heck, I’ll even volunteer to come wash real dishes in exchange for meals-under-the-table! (I’m deadly serious here, Kamloops restaurant owners.)
Joe Pho is located at 298 Lansdowne St. More info, hours of operation and menu updates can be found on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/joephokamloops/info?ref=page_internal