Great Pho at Pho Hung Vuong
It might be a little outside of the capital but nevertheless, Pho Hung Vuong is the best pho in Melbourne, a statement that is confirmed day after day by the queues stretching to the roadside at lunch.
It can be hard to predict where in the world you're going to find the kind of flavoursome, alluring meal that will have you staring sadly at your salad sandwich dreaming of better days. Often times you find these places in the heart of the city, tucked away in beautiful buildings with attractive facades and equally inviting indoor decor.
But sometimes you might just be surprised by the places serving the best of the best eats around: Pho Hung Vuong is sure to surprise.
Boxes of vermicelli noodles line the front windows and delivery trucks grumble as they pass by this completely unassuming street in the south-eastern suburb of Springvale. And yet, a crowd builds. A peculiar hum of impatience hangs in the air around an unremarkable door sitting alongside a small grocer and a real estate agency. Inside, a few tables scatter the room and mirror-lined walls create the illusion of space in this assuredly tight and cosy Vietnamese restaurant.
There’s nothing spectacular to meet the eye and if you didn’t know any better you’d probably decide to skip the queue and make your way down the street to one of the other more flashy restaurants in the area. But for the people eagerly hanging by the door awaiting a table, it’s the Pho that has them sticking out the brisk winter air - the promise of a bowl of that delicious, satisfying Vietnamese staple, that instantly warms your bones and awakens your taste buds.
This well-established delectable dish, with its mysterious possibly French colonial origins, is much beloved in its homeland, but has more recently taken the Western World by storm - and the world is better for it. A seemingly simplistic dish of few ingredients, you mightn’t expect the complex flavours that it boasts. And being the popular dish that it is, it’s incredibly uncommon to find two recipes alike, and that’s what separates Pho Hung Vuong 2 from the rest.
On a cold wintry day there is nothing quite like a steaming bowl of fresh Pho to keep away the dastardly chills and there is absolutely no place that does it quite like Pho Hung Vuong 2. After waiting your turn (ever so graciously and patiently), make your way to your table and cast your eyes over the short and sweet english menu in front of you. While the walls may be lined with foreign wonders scrawled in delicate Vietnamese characters, worry not - the Pho is what you’re there for, and everybody knows it.
Its beauty is in its freshness. After selecting your choice meat (for the brave, perhaps a selection of giblets, tripe and other wild and wonderful parts of the beast you thought you'd never encounter), a plate filled with a fragrant array of fresh Thai basil, bean sprouts, wedges of lime and hot chillies will make its way before you. Shortly afterwards, your bowl of revered Pho will arrive as well. Steaming hot, deliciously fragrant and loaded with fresh meats cooking before you in a bed of broth and noodles, you’ll know immediately that you made the right decision in waiting it out.
Load it with sprouts and basil, a squeeze of lime, a sprinkling of chilli and a dash of hoisin sauce and tuck into your dish with each mouthful even more delicious than the last. Accompany it with one of the delightfully different mung bean beverages on offer and you’ll be soaring.
This ever-so-tasty dish will fill your belly, leave your wallet almost as full as it was before you arrived and have you dreaming of a Vietnamese noodle soup for days on end.
Where: Shop 2/15 Balmoral Avenue, Springvale, VIC 3171
Contact: 03 9558 5147