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Satisfying Spring Soups - Basil Tamato, with roasted corn & french sticks

Basil Tamato, with roasted corn & french sticks

By: PegCity GrubMarch 13, 2014 // Food Tours

Chicken Pho, Dragon Express. (photo by robin summerfield)
(Photo by Robin Summerfield)

If you've been visiting Peg City Grub lately, you'll have noticed a distinct food trend. Soup has been my salvation and my cure to the winter blahs. The best soups are loaded with flavour and fresh ingredients. While a heavy duty meat and vegetable stew is called for during the dog days of winter, the time has come for lighter and brighter soups.

Light broths, crisp fresh vegetables, herbs and glassy rice noodles are the basic ingredients to create magic. Pho and vermicelli fit the bill in my books. In Winnipeg, there are tonnes of great spots to saddle up to a spectacular bowl of these Vietnamese staples. Here are two to get you started:

Dragon Express
Address: Forks Market, #148 (main floor, dining hall)
Phone Number: 204-942-9367

I discovered Dragon Express and its smashing pho purely by accident. While visiting The Forks with my family, we stopped for lunch inside the Market. Some headed toward Gimli Fish for their outstanding fish and chips, and others hit Danny's All-Day Breakfast for eggs and bacon. Meanwhile, I wanted lighter fare that involved vegetables.

On a scout of the dining hall, I spotted a handwritten sign for pho on the brick wall beside Dragon Express. Options included chicken, shrimp, beef, pork and tofu. Made to order, my chicken pho took about five minutes to prepare which, in 'fast food' circles, is a very long time. When I slurped up my first noodle, all waiting time was forgotten. The soup was light, fresh, and fantastic, and a fresh wedge of lemon perked up the flavour even more. Piled with noodles, chicken, carrots, broccoli and green onions, this pho was a deal for $6.49. The portion was so generous, I passed it to my table mate to finish.

Dalat
Address: Unit 2-1170 Taylor Avenue
Phone Number: 204-895-8585 or 204-895-3222
Neighbourhood: Grant Park

Located in a strip mall south west of Grant Park Mall, Dalat is an unexpected delight. I first discovered this dining gem while playing a game of 'restaurant roulette.' For the initiated, you randomly pick a restaurant you've never tried before, have a meal and hope you'll love it. Dalat was also an instant hit for its moo shu and chow mein.

We also loaded up on deluxe vermicelli with shaved pork, chicken, shrimp, crisp-fresh broccoli, and carrots. Water chestnuts, choys and celery added extra crunch while a generous pile of vermicelli noodles lay beneath.

The soup hits that sweet spots of fresh and light, yet filling. It was the perfect soup to perk anyone up or hammer a cold or flu into oblivion.

Vermicelli soup, Dalat. (photo by robin summerfield)
Vermicelli soup, Dalat. (Photo by Robin Summerfield)

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