An influx of immigrants to North America and Europe fleeing from political turmoil as a result of the Vietnam War introduced a whole new variety of cuisine to Canada. In the early 1980s, these immigrants brought their culture, traditions and of course, their traditional meals. Pho was one of these dishes. Vietnamese people opened up their own restaurants as a way to create employment and a better life for themselves. But, the pho we experience in Canada today is vastly different from what was served then, when traditional ingredients like rice noodles were not readily available. Some opted for spaghetti noodles to make do, among other substitutions.
Peanut sate pho with spring rolls at Saskatoon's Szechuan Kitchen.
Over time, with more Asian ingredients becoming available, more exposure to various cuisines and more demand, this delicious soup became an iconic part of Canada's food scene, so much so that it was added to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2007. Today, there are hundreds of Vietnamese restaurants across Canada with more than 100 vietnamese restaurants in cities like Calgary or Montreal alone!