A true Vietnamese dining experience should consist of:
“Hurry, gotta find a damn table to get me some sweet noodle. Oh crap there aren’t enough plastic chairs to fit me and my family of five. Oh wait, that couple over there won’t mind if my children sit on their laps. Get me some pho stat. Slurpy slurp, burp, sniff. Munch on a toothpick and guzzle some lemon juice. done.”
When eating Vietnamese food I want to be rushed, sweaty and get through a whole box of kleenex in the process of consuming vast amounts of chili flakes. No one should look pretty when eating their pork noodle soup.
The one place I’ve found in Sydney that gets the closest to this is De Pho in Chatswood. The tables are covered in a sticky layer of soup detritus from the previous customers and it is cramped as hell. But the food is the real deal. I always go for the pho bo (beef noodle soup), which is coupled with a mountain of beansprouts, herbs and extra chili. The pho ga (chicken noodle soup) has a clean, glassy broth and unbelievably silky chicken. Their stir-fried bbq pork and noodles is equally to die for, and also a real pain in the butt if you have caveman eating habits like me and get the sticky pork glaze in your hair (it won’t come out).
Located in the depths of the Asian foodcourt in Lemon Grove shopping centre, it’s dank, humid and the largest source of lighting is the neon green sign at the door. But it exudes the vibrancy and rush of Vietnam that is so ridiculously hard to replicate in little ol’ regimented Australia.
De Pho Vietnamese
Location: 427 – 441 Victoria Ave, Shop 21 Lemon Grove Shopg Centre
Prices: Mains between $10 – $15
Love it because: Best Vietnamese food I’ve found in Sydney. Lemon juice is also a killer.