TRACY Pham shares the Vietnamese restaurants that top her list in Melbourne, where you can slurp down the iconic pho for no more than $10 a bowl.
Most people know pho as the most famous dish in Vietnamese cuisine. Like hot green tea, pho also has a distinct taste and aroma.
Pho (pronounced as “faa”) is a type of rice noodle in a richly flavoured broth that’s been cooked for hours using beef bones, fresh onions and spices. The soup for pho ga (pho with chicken meat) on the other hand, is made by stewing chicken and pig bones together. The white chicken meat that is usually served with pho ga is boneless and cut into thin slices.
The following restaurants are some of my top picks, just note that cash is normally the only payment method in these restaurants.
Pho Hung Vuong 2
Pho Hung Vuong has been around as far as I can remember. A little eatery among the Vietnamese food oasis that is Victoria Street, the restaurant provides eat-in and take away.
As a regular visitor, I’ve found their beef pho to be particularly impressive. It comes in three different sizes, like most pho eateries, with your choice of chicken, beef, both or added sausage.
A strong clear soup that lets its ingredients really speak for itself, good quality beef and a decent serving makes this a hearty meal for any occasion. It’s packed full of flavour and is one of the best tasting soups around.
Pho Hung Vuong has a limited menu offering, but limited choice also means you get the best of the best in terms of taste, quality and consistency.
The restaurant has a modern layout and friendly staff. I have tried just about every place on Victoria Street and I can say there is no better place for pho than here.
Pho Chu The
Mr Mai Xuan The came to Australia about 30 years ago and started a Vietnamese noodle soup restaurant called Pho Chu The. People know him as Chu The, which means Uncle The.
The flavours are noticeable just walking past the restaurant’s front door. The basil is fresh and plentiful. Oh, there are lots of other sundry items on the menu too, but you’d be crazy to come here for anything but the pho.
There are three different sizes of pho to choose from ($8 for a small, $9 for a medium and $10 for a large bowl). It comes with bean shoots and mint and there’s free tea as well.
Their phở bo dac biet (beef special) is sweet and full of umami. The broth is rich and lovely thanks to the variety of herbs used. The noodles are super soft with a delicate chew.
There are branches all across Melbourne including Boxhill, Springvale, Footscray and Richmond, but the Richmond branch is probably closest for city folk.
Pho Hoang Dakao
This store is a family-run Vietnamese restaurant in South East Melbourne. It was established in 1999 at the newly built Golden Plaza Shopping Centre.
Pho Hoang Dakao is a bit bigger than a lot of other restaurants in the area and they have an extensive menu if you are not a big fan of noodles.
The sizes are about the same as most other pho shops (a small for $7.50 and a large is $8.50) and they give you quite a bit of fresh beef and noodles. The menu only lists the $8.50 version, which is what you’ll get if you don’t specifically ask for the small.
The soup is very light and clear, not greasy, and the raw ingredients they use are very fresh compared to what you get in the city. It’s probably because the restaurant is located near a fresh food market.