Yesterday I did yoga for the very first time, and ate banh mi for the second time in two days. Not only did I branch out exercise-wise, but I also got to satisfy my now-endless cravings for summertime subs. It was a very good day.
Let’s start with the Oval, shall we? As I waited for my class to start, I listened to the hundreds of rubbery pings! of basketballs in action. This is sport camp season, and the Oval is even busier than usual. It’s also where I had my very first yoga class, after 27 years of putting it off. After the class – which was wonderful, led by the fabulous Pat – I felt limber, stretched out, and ready to take on the day (read: eat).
I hopped on my bike and set out to finish an incomplete mission, that mission being lunch at New Asia Deli. It was closed when I tried to eat there on Wednesday, and I swore I’d come back. I especially wanted to right this wrong because they’re known for their sandwiches, and after eating that crunchy banh mi yesterday at West Lake, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I kid you not, that was exactly what was running through my mind during our last few minutes at yoga, which I don’t THINK is the goal of meditation……anyways, I decided to make it two for two. Can you forgive me? I think I may have a banh mi problem.
New Asia Deli is in the same mall as Sushi House, just off Cambie on Sexsmith Road. It’s fairly small, with a mother and her teenage daughter running the front. My server (the mother) was incredibly friendly, but she doesn’t really speak English so there was a lot of pointing at the menu, and she called her daughter over a few times to translate. Even with what I thought was clear and vigorous underlining of my chosen drink, I accidentally ended up with a peach slushie ($4.80) instead of a Horlick’s slushie (I LOVE malted milk.)
When the fruity drink arrived instead of my chosen one, I didn’t have the heart to send it back, but still really enjoyed the cold peachy ice.
Of the banh mi choices, I went with the meatball. It arrived fairly quickly and was so satisfying. The bun was warm, and had a crust so shatteringly-crisp I was left with a lap full of crumbs by the end (which I read is the sign of a truly good Vietnamese baguette). The meatballs were soft and tasted a bit like liver pate – I’d guess the mix included ground pork, liver, and herbs. There was cilantro, pickled carrot and daikon (though thicker cut than at West Lake), slices of fresh cucumber, but no mayo; the meat was rich enough on its own.
It was just the right size, and only $3.95. The pho and rice dishes I saw others eating looked good too, and I’d recommend this place both for its food and the friendly service. Even if you only speak English, you couldn’t go into a warmer or more inviting atmosphere. Just try to be a little more clear than I was when ordering your drink…….
After New Asia Deli, I wandered over to Mega Bakery for dessert, because I can’t be within 5km of a bakery without going in. I decided to try the last of their Peanut Sticky Rice ($1), which are stark-white balls of glutinous rice flour dough rolled in coconut and stuffed with peanuts.
Texture-wise, for lack of a better description, I shall call it “squishy.” Squishy, mooshy, mashy, squashy, these are the hard-hitting adjectives I’m using to describe this thing, but they’re all appropriate. It completely relaxed under my touch, but went right back to its original shape after I moved my hand away. It’s filled with a crushed peanut and sesame mixture, and the skins left on the peanuts lend a slight bitterness; it didn’t taste anything like peanut butter. I’d expected it to be quite sugary by looking at it, but the sticky rice dough was only slightly sweet. I liked this dessert (found at many Chinese bakeries), and if you’re ok with foods that are skwooshy, then give it a try. I considered filming it just to show you what I’m talking about, but then I thought “You’re being ridiculous Lindsay, you don’t need to make a video with a single baked good as your subject.” OR DO I.
After my dessert, I was riding west along Cambie when I spotted Whole Vegetarian Foods Inc., a store that advertises “Healthy, Vegetarian Foods and Organic Products.” Yes please! I stopped to have a look. It’s a little run down, but it offers all sorts of products for cooking various Chinese dishes without meat. I didn’t understand what many of the products were, but there were a few that stood out. “Dry Apricot North and South Almond Seeds,” for example.
I googled them, and apparently they’re used by Chinese herbalists to relieve bronchitis and as a remedy for coughs and asthma. They’re also a topic on a number of cancer websites (as agents with which to fight to the disease), but they’re also (apparently) slightly toxic, so I decided to leave them for now. I didn’t feel like lugging a mild poison all the way home. Whole Vegetarian Foods also had many kinds of noodles, rice, grains, some fresh produce, and a huge number of frozen imitation meat products. I’m not the biggest fan of processed vegetarian ‘meat,’ but for vegetarians who really miss their carnivorous days, this store might be your answer!
Ahh, such a busy and explorative day, my favourite kind. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.
*Just a quick note to everyone – we’re switching over our server at some point today, and while it shouldn’t affect the blog too much, there may be some disruption regarding comment-posting. That’s about all I understand, so let’s just cross our fingers and hope everything’s ok! Just kidding, it should be fine. I think.