Be bowled over
There are two great reasons for bringing Vietnamese food to the table.
Firstly, it tastes great.
Secondly, or possibly equal first, it is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world through the use of lashings of fresh vegetables and herbs, minimal oil and no-fuss preparation.
Today’s typical Vietnamese cuisine, relying on Vietnamese mint, coriander, Thai basil, lemongrass and vegetables to complement seafood, chicken, pork, beef, noodles and rice, has come about through a natural fusion of outside inspiration.
Chinese, Indian, Cambodian, Eastern European, Thai, Japanese, Korean and French influences are all present.
Pho Viet, a traditional pho (soup) cafe in Orchid Plaza provides inexpensive, nutritious lunches and dinners to people from all walks of life, from city professionals to local families, students and tourists.
Diners seem casually comfortable eating alone or in groups at this popular eatery, which has become a quick pit stop for a steaming bowl of soup, noodles or a Vietnamese bread roll ($4.90).
It was the French who introduced the baguette to Vietnam and it has been adapted into a deliciously popular snack filled with marinated pork and fresh herbs.
At Pho Viet the pho comes in various guises – basically rice noodles in a delicious stock with pork, beef; chicken (or a combination).
Priced around the $10-$12 mark, any one of these is a meal in a bowl, packed with firm vegetables, herbs and optional chilli.
Chicken rice noodle soup ($9.90) is light, yet satisfying with lots of crisp greens, especially spring onion, chunks of tender chicken flesh and a side plate of crunchy bean sprouts, lemon wedge and stalks of Thai basil to sprinkle on top.Sliced marinated pork with vermicelli ($10.90) is served at room temperature, like a noodle salad.
This deliciously tangy sweet and hot (depending on how keenly you participate in the spicy condiments, such as a flavoursome blend of lemongrass and chilli) dish is loaded with carrot, fresh mint, cucumber, spouts, crushed peanuts and slithers of sweet pork. Perfect with an ice-cold coconut water quencher.
Pork and prawn rice paper rolls ($7.90) are well worth picking up for healthy snacks, any time you’re on the run.
In this food court-type setting, Pho Viet provides a bright, cheerful place for casual dining.
Service is super quick and staff helpful and user-friendly, offering explanations on traditional dining techniques for first-timers.
Many, however, appear to have already discovered this haunt, which buzzes non-stop throughout the day, handing out sustenance to shoppers wanting to put their feet up and takeaways to those too busy to stop and smell the herbs.
Pho Viet is downstairs at Orchid Plaza, ph: 0488 588 983.
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