The most famous Vietnamese dish outside Vietnam is of course, the Vietnamese beef noodle, or pho (pronounce as “fe-eh”). This is likely the first dish most people think about when it comes to Vietnamese food, and for good reasons – it is accessible, delicious, and uses ingredients familiar with most other cuisines.
Pho Cao Van, at District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
There are in fact, two slightly different types of pho, one originated from Saigon/HCMC, and another from the Hanoi, a distance of over 1100 KM away. While both soup stock utilizes beef & beef bone as a major component, the Southern version also incorporate a stronger presence of aroma from fish sauce. In a way, pho from HCMC is the one you usually get, especially outside Vietnam.
the traditional way is to give you way too much vege
Pho Cao Van at Mac Dinh Chi road, however, is one of the few places that serves traditional Northern style pho at Saigon. At 40,000 VND and above per bowl, it is certainly one of the more expensive pho options out there, but also one of the more “authentic” versions there is.
squeeze the lemon, and dip those tendon in the chili sauce
I ordered a bowl with nothing but beef tendon (partly due to my failure in Vietnamese sign language, but no regrets), accompanied by a huge portion of fresh vegetable in which there is no way you can actually finish. The soup was light yet full of flavor from boiling beef bone over long hours. The tendon, melt in your mouth. It was absolutely lovely and not hard to see why this particular shop gets a steady stream of customers despite being rather shabby in appearance and yet charges a slight premium over others.
If you’re at Ho Chi Minh City, or anywhere else in Vietnam, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of pho, whichever versions it may be.
Address: Phở Cao Vân 25 Mạc Đĩnh Chi, District 1, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam GPS: 10.784681, 106.699296 Hours: 6 am to 10:30 pm
In my previous-previous job many years ago, I used to travel quite a bit to Ho Chi Minh City for work, and aside from the hospitality of the people there, the one thing I always looked forward to was some good old fashion Vietnamese street food.
Their dishes take advantage of ingredients not entirely unlike Chinese or Thai cuisine, but with the result that is completely different. Unlike Thai or Malay food which often rely on chili, Vietnamese creations often feature plenty of fresh vegetable, and instead of soya sauce in Chinese food, fish sauce seems to be their go-to choice as seasoning.
Quan An Viet, near Klang Parade
While Vietnamese food has some presence here in Malaysia, they are mostly chain restaurants offering pho, a few rice dishes, and nothing else, so imagine the surprise when we saw this little kopitiam manned with Vietnamese with thick accents offering proper Vietnamese street food right at Klang.
In fact, the little area between Klang Parade and Taman Eng Ann seems to have a small Vietnamese community living around the area, complete with shops carrying Vietnamese groceries.
bún bò, bún riêu, gỏi xoài
Quan An Viet offers some 20 different simple dishes, from beef noodle to duck noodle, spring roles to rice dishes, and they’re all priced at less than RM 10.
We first had the bun bo, or rice vermicelli and beef, a dish that’s similar to pho but with slightly different soup base and vegetable reflecting it’s origin in Hue instead of Saigon. It was pretty delicious, though I’d love to see tripes, brisket, or tendon in it instead of just beef slices.
Bun rieu is something new to me, a sort of tomato broth with crab/shrimp paste filled with pork leg, coagulated blood, and vermicelli noodle. Quite an interesting taste but it is something that takes a bit of getting used to.
Goi xoai is their version of green mango salad with some sort of rice sheets. To be honest I didn’t like it, the Thai version is still much superior. Perhaps those in Vietnam is better executed than here.
bánh mì, cơm sườn
Bánh mì is a Vietnamese term for bread, a dish that is introduced by French during its colonial period. While the filling tastes pretty good, the quality of bread here isn’t really up to par.
The other dish I tried was the Vietnamese Broken Rice with Grilled Pork Chop, and sadly it was kinda disappointing. The pork chop was too dry and generally lack any umph.
KY & Haze at one of our favorite Vietnamese kopitiam
I would say the spring roles & noodle dishes here are definitely up to par, and for the price you pay, this place definitely offer great value for money. Will definitely head back again for other dishes.
Address: Quan An Viet (Restoran Kui Rong) Jalan Pekan Baru 35 Kawasan 17, 41150 Klang, Selangor GPS: 3.064075, 101.455354 Hours: noon till dinner
Those who have been reading this blog for some time might realise that pho is one of my favorite foods of all time. My love for this simple Vietnamese noodle dish started from my year long stint in Northern Virginia, and later re-enforced from the 9 trips to Vietnam that I made in my previous job.
pho Dzung is located in Richmond, VIC
During my previous visit to Melbourne, I visited the very popular Mekong Vietnamese Restaurant right on Swanston Street. While it was pretty good, at least a couple readers commented that the best pho is found in Richmond, the Vietnamese community that is located just a few kilometers away from Melbourne CBD.
So on this second trip to Melbourne, I looked up online and found this Pho Dzung place at Richmond that is said to be one of the bests in this part of the world.
coagulated cow’s blood and Vietnamese spring roll
Mellissa and I took a train from Melbourne Central to North Richmond and walked a few hundred meter to the east on Victoria Street, passing quite a number of other Vietnamese and Asian restaurants, fresh seafood shops, and Asian grocers before reaching no. 208.
At 3pm, Pho Dzung was still packed with people to the point where we had to be seated upstairs. It was definitely the correct place to be.
special beef combination pho with plenty of basil leaves and bean sprouts
The menu is rather simple, rice noodle soup with the usual suspects: rare beef, tripe, brisket, tendon, cartilage, meat ball, chicken, and even beef pizzle (yes, beef penis!).
Mell ordered a bowl of beef pho ($7 for small) and I went for the beef combination, we also asked for a plate of deep fried Vietnamese spring roll to share.
Right after I made my order, I spotted coagulated ox blood ($1) on the menu, so of course, I asked for that. The waiter asked if I actually wanted a bowl of ox blood in liquid form, but that would have been a bit too intense for my liking.
we had a very satisfying lunch
The spring rolls were quite small in size but certainly not lacking in taste, crunchy on the outside and flavorful on the inside, a perfect way to open up the appetite. The coagulated blood though, was not as tasty as the pork or duck version I enjoy in Penang curry mee and kueh teow soup, but not bad nonetheless.
As for the beef noodle, the soup was simple excellent. The aromatic beef stock was sweet and to be frank, one of the bests I’ve had from anywhere. If you find yourself in Melbourne, you have to give this place a try, easily the best $20 lunch for two at this part of the world.
Address: Pho Dzung Tan Dinh
208 Victoria St
Richmond 3121 VIC GPS: -37.81042,144.998181 Tel:03-9427 0292
I had noticed this little Vietnamese Beef Noodle call Pho Hoa place at the Curve before this particular trip, and told Mell that we had to try this place before she left for Melbourne. So on Valentine’s day itself, a day where most couples were standing in line for hours at posher restaurants, we chose to take the opportunity to this place.
No queue there, only a few families and another an old couple who are probably married too many years to be worried about celebrating the overrated Valentine’s (I like the fact that Mell shares the same view with me on this).
a small setup tucked at the corner away from the main street at the Curve
I have been in Ho Chi Minh city many times in my previous job, and the one thing I miss the most about Vietnam is the beef noodle, or Pho.
Ever since I stopped going there, I had been visiting Vietnamese restaurants like O’Viet at Sunway Pyramid for try out their pho but most of the time the standards have been not good enough to worth a blog post.
On top of all, I can never find any place that serves pho with beef tendon (my favorite ingredient) until this one. I was so happy!
check out that glorious beef tendon!!
Like most restaurants at the Curve, Pho Hoa has an indoor as well as alfresco dining area. Interior decoration is pretty simple and uninspiring, but we were here purely for the food anyway, so it was all good.
The menu at Pho Hoa consist of the usual Vietnamese spring rolls, rice bowls, vermicelli bowls, and of course, the pho. The good thing here is the availability to create your own pho according to your choice of ingredients: brisket, a few types of flanks, steak, tendon, and tripe.
I ordered mine with steak, tripe, and a lot of tendon while Mell went for the basic.
KY & Mell and a cup of Vietnamese coffee
The tendon was very soft and tender, just the way it should be. The soup too was rather tasty. Being a true pho lover, I even asked for more basil and mint leaves from the Vietnamese waiter (always a good sign). It was one of the more satisfying bowl of Vietnamese beef noodle I’ve had for a while.
I also had their very strong Vietnamese drip coffee (cafe da), something you should order unless you plan to sleep in the next 6 hours.
The bill came up to less than RM 40 with the two bowls of noodle at RM 15.99 and RM 11.99, definitely within a very good value for the food I had. I’m thinking of having this tomorrow for lunch this weekend!
Address: Pho Hoa
G34, the Curve,
PJ, 40870 Selangor GPS:3.157699, 101.611540 Tel: 03-7725 9880
Whenever I go to any foreign places, it is always interesting to tune to their local tv channels to get a taste of the local media. I think there is no other places that airs more languages on national TV than in Malaysia. On last count, we have more than 10 languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien, Japanese, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, Tamil, Hindi.. not to mention Manglish.
Situation in Vietnam is slightly different, instead of airing shows in their respective languages, they usually dub it in Vietnamese. However, if you listen closely, they only use ONE person to dub the entire movie. It doesn’t matter if the actor on screen is old, young, male, female, baby, dog, cat.. just one person speaking the dialogs monotonously, without emotion nor any hint of passion.