The Noodle Bus is Calgary’s newest food truck. It just started hitting the streets about 10 days ago. Since it was parked at the Tourism Calgary office during the lunch hour yesterday, it was the perfect opportunity for me to check it out as my office is only a couple of blocks away. I had the intention of bringing the food back to the office to enjoy as it is rather difficult to eat pho while standing up, never mind trying to walk and slurp soup or eat the noodles at the same time.
The Noodle Bus has a simple menu consisting of popular Vietnamese fare. For appetizers, they offer the typical fried spring rolls, salad rolls, and a variety of skewers. As main items, The Noodle Bus offers both Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) and Bun (Vietnamese cold vermicelli bowl with grilled meat, spring rolls, salad, herbs, sprouts and is served with a side of nuoc cham, which is a dipping sauce made with fish sauce). Don’t get Bun mixed up with Banh Mi, which is the term for Vietnamese submarines. Initially, when my coworkers looked at the menu, they thought Vietnamese subs were available when they saw the word Bun as they automatically associated that with bread. They would have been in for a big surprise had they ordered the Bun expecting a Vietnamese sub and getting a vermicelli bowl instead.
I ordered the Beef Pho with Satay ($6.50 for the Beef Pho; $0.50 for the satay). I was surprised that the Pho survived the couple of blocks back to my office incredibly well. When I popped open the lid of the container, I could still feel the heat from the soup. The noodles were still firm, which is the way I like them. Because the temperature of soup was so hot, the beef slices were mostly cooked through though there was still a bit of pink left in them. I know it would have so much better had I eaten it right away there but I just don’t know how I would have managed as there were no benches nearby. I just couldn’t picture myself eating this noodle soup gracefully while walking without making a big mess and wearing my lunch instead. Overall, I was really impressed with this Satay Beef Pho. It ranks right up there with some of the better versions of Satay Beef Pho that I’ve had here in town. I was impressed with how tender the beef slices were. This satay broth was a bit thinner and not as oily or as creamy and rich as some of the other Satay Beef Pho that I’ve had. The broth was still very flavourful though the flavours were not as complex. There was still a fair amount of heat (spiciness), which I enjoyed.
For dessert, I ordered the Banana Fritters ($4). There are 2 fritters to an order and they are served with a side of coconut cream. The fritters were perfectly crispy on the outside and it paired really well with the coconut cream. I liked that the coconut cream was not very sweet as the banana filling was already quite sweet. Overall, these fritters were very tasty, though I’m sure they’d taste ever better fresh out of the fryer. But I didn’t want to mess with my taste buds and have dessert first before actually tasting the pho.
I’d definitely go back to get the Satay Beef Pho again if the truck was close by. I’m not sure how well the food would survive if I had to walk many blocks in sub-zero temperatures. If the truck is nearby, this is the perfect food for winter as the pho really warms you up. The Noodle Bus launched at just the perfect time as winter is just around the corner.