On a cold, rainy Saturday, my best friend convinced me to skip the planned movie and instead took me out to her favourite local spot for pho instead. We battled through Saturday market shopping traffic and arrived at Pho Hung Vuong Saigon. It was jam packed but we only had to wait 10 minutes for a table and apparently that’s not even usually necessary. There’s not much standing room, so it was a relief when we were seated at a table next to another couple. Straight away we were greeted by a waitress asking to take our order – it seems people usually know what they want ahead of time!
The bestie ordered an avocado smoothie and I ordered a drink with mixed nuts, longan and seaweed on the spur of the moment. Sounds crazy but I actually really enjoyed the sweet, refreshing drink and with bonus nutrients! The avocado smoothie was described as the best thing to cure a chilli-tainted tongue, which was definitely going to be a bonus in this place and indeed it tasted just like drinking a smooth guacamole.
We also ordered a serve of vegetarian rice paper rolls, which came out with slices of tofu inside, rather than just vegetables, which was tasty but kind of disappointing. The sauce was lovely though.
Being a pho noob (with a touch of a cold) and not accustomed to ordering meat dishes, I went for the spicy beef pho and the bestie ordered a standard beef pho, both in the small size. My order received a shake of the head from my dining partner and I soon saw why. When our order came out only one rice paper roll in, mine had plenty of chilli but also spaghetti instead of vermicelli or egg noodles. Very strange!
I was unaccustomed to the plate of accompaniments for the noodle soup, which included fresh sliced chilli, Vietnamese mint, bean sprouts and lemon wedges. The spicy beef soup hardly needed extra spiciness for a regular punter, but being a chilli-fiend I definitely enjoyed the extra heat. The slices of beef were lovely and tender, albeit a bit big to stuff into one’s mouth delicately.
Neither of us finished our small bowls, but we did sit and admire the other patrons finishing their small and medium bowls and questioned the sanity of those requesting a large serve.
Vegetarians will be hard to please as the menu is basically beef or chicken themed, so I resigned to having a meat-meal for once. The bill came to around $28 and whilst the setting was a bit cosy for much candid catch-up conversation, I will definitely be joining my lovely bestie for a bowl of pho again in the future.
- Hung Vuong Saigon, 128 Hopkins Street, Footscray +61 3 9689 6002