University Eats

January28

I graduated from the University of Winnipeg (in the 70s!) with my degree in Dramatic Studies. Since that time I believe it has been renamed the Theatre and Film Program. This meant that in addition to regular class time, we were “encouraged” to participate in theatre productions put on by the department and other community theatrical organizations. This meant for very long days. Thank the Lord that my sweet dad would drive from EK to pick me up if it was after dark or particularly cold.

Although I was a thrifty student and consistently took my lunch to school, there was no refrigeration offered to us (or insulated bags or freezer packs for that matter), so even though I would trust the holding temperature of my lunch for a couple of hours until, I would definitely not do so until supper.

Often times the entire cast and/or production team would head out together looking for somewhere we could eat affordably. I remember one spot in particular-it was an Asian family restaurant run by a new Canadian named Hu. You may remember him from his restaurant called the Mandarin on Sargent or the River Mandarin on River. We would empty our pockets and Hu would count our couple of bills but mostly change, and declare that he could come up with something quite nourishing for us. It would often be a fried rice divided among many mouths. We were quite sure that the value of the dish far outweighed the money that we chipped in. But that was a reflection of Hu’s kind heart.

I recently visited a new Vietnamese place just opposite the University of Winnipeg on Portage Ave for lunch: Banh Mi King and it was full of students. I returned this past weekend for the same meal -their delectable Charbroiled Pork Noodle Salad Bowl. On Saturday at 6 pm it was packed again, but not with students. This time it was bursting with “Skip the Dishes” couriers. Oh my, how the world has changed! In a good way….I think. D and I had seen a Matinee including popcorn and we didn’t want a big supper just something that would fit into a single bowl.

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I remembered the Banh Mi King with their gluten friendly bowl served with charbroiled pork and vermicelli noodles over a bed of greens with herbs, bean sprouts, pickled daikon and carrots, shredded cabbage and topped with peanuts, cooked green onions, and crispy onions! We immediately tucked in and were surprised when we slowed down with still half a bowl remaining. The tastes were so varied and fresh and clean. We continued slurping up the noodles from our raised bowls with chopsticks. So good!

D calculated that 2 fast food burgers and add ons would have cost more than these wholesome and nutritional bowls.

Kath’s quote: “There is a unique freshness when eating buckwheat noodles cold with plenty of herbs and citrus acidity. I can’t think of any better use of chopsticks on a hot and sweaty evening”. -Yotam Ottolenghi (my newest culinary crush).

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Love never fails.

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