Fusion · Restaurants · Vietnamese

Foreign Concept

My new Instagram friend – 4jki – is even more passionate about Vietnamese food than I am. Two of her favourite restaurants are Foreign Concept and Pure Modern Asian Kitchen. After seeing her numerous posts of takeout from Foreign Concept, I got “influenced”. For this post, let’s listen to “Where Is My Mind” by Pixies.

I ordered Bun Bo Hue (Beef & Pork Noodle Soup, $20), which came with two imperial rolls and an order of Banh Cuon (Vietnamese Steamed Crepes, $15). On the way back to our house, L stopped off to buy some Churros Bites ($9) from a food truck.

4jki loves Foreign Concept’s pork and shrimp imperial rolls so much, she eats them cold the next day for lunch. Each roll was still crispy, accompanied with big pieces of lettuce leaf, pickled vegetables, and fresh basil and mint.

I’m a fan of the Bun Bo Hue. I found the flavours in the broth fragrant and light. The white noodles were slippery and bouncy. The slices of beef were thick and tender to the tooth. I enjoyed the simple, clean flavours that stemmed from the raw onions and basil. The portion is big enough for two to share as an appetizer. Below is a picture of slightly more than the half portion. L is a light eater and I always take advantage of that fact.

I was surprised the beef balls were so juicy and springy. I found out that Foreign Concept blends pork and air into the meat mixture, which gives the beef balls its lighter texture. The bun bo hue is something special, I would order this again.

The Banh Cuon is a must order. The rice rolls were soft, filled with a savoury mixture of pork, shrimp, and wood ear mushrooms. The rolls are garnished with pork floss, Thai basil, bean sprouts and pickled carrots. I love the contrast between the crunchy sour vegetables, the sweetness from the sauce, and squishiness of the rice rolls. The Vietnamese sausage was yummy – the texture was nice and firm. This was my favourite dish of the three I tried.

I was really impressed with the subtle yet lively flavours in the bun bo hue and rice rolls. Foodkarma noted that Chef Duncan Ly’s food is well-balanced and the flavours are not in your face because of his fine dining background and culinary training.

I’m looking forward to ordering from Foreign Concept again. I’m excited I can get my banh cuon fix so close to home. Keep on eye on their Instagram page for new upcoming features.

Cheap Eats · Restaurants · Vietnamese

Song Huong

For this posting, I’m going to play Josh Homme – Desert Roll, because Song Huong is the sort of restaurant I think Anthony Bourdain would approve of in spades. After I finished helping at Jyoti Gondek’s Ward 3 fundraiser at the Wyndham Garden’s, L asked me if I wanted to go out to eat. Man, no wonder I’m crazy about this guy. Yes, of course I want to go out.

Song Huong is located in the industrial part of the NE, about 10 minutes from the airport. I’ve heard so much about the food at Song Huong. The food here is not hyped up at all. This was the first time I tried Vietnamese food outside of Duncan Ly’s restaurant upscale cuisine at Foreign Concept and  Lam Pham’s Pure Vietnamese Restaurant that I experienced such a range of dimension of flavours. I like Vietnamese food in Calgary, but the food at Song Huong is different. The flavours are more intense and lively, the combination of ingredients make the food sing.

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L and I shared a small order of spring rolls. I’ve heard Song Huong uses rice paper for the wrapper. The result is an ultra-light, delicate wrapper that melts on your tongue. I could eat these all day long.

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Next we shared a bowl of bun bo hue, without the blood pudding. I’m sure blood pudding is delicious, but I cannot bring myself to try it. Instead of the usual sprouts and basil, we received a fresh pile of assorted vegetables that added a different dimension to the soup.

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The broth was light and had these gorgeous notes of sour, tart and sweet. The assortment of meats, the smooth silky noodles, the crunch of the mixed vegetables was amazing. There was so much going on and I couldn’t even describe it as it was all new to me.

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I ordered the clam vermicelli everyone raves about. I didn’t know how to eat this dish so I asked our server. You added the salad mixture, stir it up and if you want, you can sip on the soup or pour it in. I prefer to pour a little the soup into the mixture, as it makes it less spicy. I detected fried garlic and a bunch of other spices from the salty brown sauce we added to it. The noodles were firm and had a nice bounce to it.

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I wonder if I convince Jyoti to do a pop up event at Song Huong. Wouldn’t that be cool? I want to return to try the salad rolls, beef sashimi and more of the bun bo hue. Damn, the food here is delicious and so inexpensive. Service was great and the owner I spoke to was so welcoming and chill that he reminded me of younger brother Jacuzzi. Hitting the Sauce gives Song Huong two fat thumbs up and makes it on my list of favourite restaurants in Calgary. In fact, I’m already planning my next visit this week with my office family.

Song Huong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato