Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Phong Vinh Noodle House

Phong Vinh Vietnamese & Chinese Noodle House on Urbanspoon
Usually you know your own strengths and weaknesses. When confronted with the question, our
conscience is temporarily lost and most of us lie our hearts out and butts off, but with no guilt whatsoever.
But I won't lie. One of my - oh so many! - innate strengths that I am so fortunate to be born with is -
my appetite. That's about it, really. As I don't think I'm good for much else.

But I'm oh so proud to call it mine when people gawp in awe (or disgust, I'm not sure) at just how much I
can fit into my little tummy - which many call, to my horror, "the bottomless pit".
It's like it's expandable. Always handy.

Why I say all this? It's because sometimes I myself marvel (yet quite horrified) at this strength of mine.
It took me from eating at home, to the Twilight Food Hawker Markets, to Phong Vinh - one after another.
Hopefully one day, it takes me places. Conquering the world, one cuisine after another.

Satay Sticks - 5 for $6

I quite miss the presence of the Twilight Hawker markets that lingered for about half a year or so in the CBD centre. They stuck around because of its popularity, the delicious aromas that wafted into the air against a twilight backdrop made perfect scents - HA! - to attract the crowds that created its success.

It was not just the food (albeit being the biggest attraction no doubt) but the sights, the sounds, the smells of large masses of people after one thing but the same thing. The atmosphere of it all, of hungry people congregating together and appreciating the simple but nourishing food that our beautifully isolated city has to offer.

The satay stall evidently attracted the biggest crowds with the biggest cloud of smoke fumes from cooking, with impressively but annoyingly long lines that warrants the wait for freshly grilled and caramelised meat lollipops laden with crunchy peanuts in a sweet chunky satay sauce. On the small side, so gives justification as to why you can eat, and eat, and eat and eat and eat some more.

Pho Dac Biet - $11
I felt inclined to name this my favourite Vietnamese restaurant after my first visit. I've tried a few of their dishes which don't fail to impress in terms of price, quantity and taste. Personally, the way I judge a Vietnamese restaurant is through its pho. If they don't do a good pho, I am skeptical. But still welcoming.

My particular bowl of Combination Beef Hofan Soup was no different to how I remembered it to be - generous, warming and filling. Combination beef really does means a combination of beef parts: different cuts of raw and cooked beef, tendon, omasum, balls...and starting to sound a tad sensual (or disgusting).

This contains pretty much ZERO vegetables besides spring onions, if that can be counted. It becomes a subconscious action of mine to load up my bowl with the bean sprouts provided just so it magically transforms into a nutritional meal.Beef stock is full of flavour but definitely doesn't leave the dry mouth feeling that MSG is so good for.

Mi Bo Kho - $10.50
We did temporarily swap our dishes but after digging into this, I decided it to be a permanent swap. Another winner of a dish is this rich, flavoursome, hearty combination of egg noodles in a gluggy soup, abundant with soft cubes of braised beef and carrot chunks that have fully absorbed the juices they are stewed in. I can't believe I'm saying this, but there really was TOO MUCH BEEF!

As with most of their dishes, you are spoiled with the choice to switch between springy egg noodles, chewier rice noodles, rice vermicelli or if you get excited by smooth textures, hofan would best answer to that desire. Each noodley strand is a different texture from their shape, size and form - the variety to be expected from a "noodle house". So use your noggin and select your noodle :)

Sinh To Bo - $5
I really love a good Asian style smoothie full of unconventional flavours of same old strawberry, creamy chocolate and very ordinary vanilla. All the smoothies you see at a Vietnamese restaurant are those of Asian inspired ingredients. And yeah avocados may not come to mind first or even connotated with anything Asian at all, but you probably can't play I spy an avocado shake anywhere else.

Very likely you'd think UGH! but I assure you it is very MMM! It's not a full on gluggy mashed up avocado made into a drink, but a lighter flavoured smoothie with a creamy consistency and similar to ice cream if it were more solid. I love avocados and I love ice cream so mathematically speaking, I love this. And I do.

I'd say it's like an avocado sundae, but then even I think that sounds revolting. So nah.

Sinh To Sau Rieng - $5
Perth's William Street was transformed into an entertainment strip on a March weekend for the annual William Street Festival. Held in celebration for the arts and cultural diversity that characterises the street, the amount of artistic fare and local designers' creations on display outshone the presence of the small number of food stalls.

It was a sunny day (too sunny!), I was starting to sweat like a pig and with Phong Vinh conveniently located on that very street, we popped inside for a bit of people watching and a lot of air con. The thought of a durian smoothie ignited my tastebuds more than that of the watery slushees up for sale on the street. 

The distinctive durian aroma (so tempted to describe it as stinky) and flavour resonates throughout the glass, making the tall, slender icy cold blended durian fruit shake the perfect accessory for a stinking hot day.

Bun Thit Nuong - $11
I love Vietnamese cuisine for its refreshing flavours which make good use of the fresh raw ingredients that go into compiling the dish. It's not too heavy and fish sauce is THE prominent addition used to flavour the food, an intense tango of salty & sweet.

The compilation of this dish revolves around crisp textures of the raw vegetables and salted roast peanuts sprinkled atop. Paired with rice vermicelli and morsels of grilled pork, there's nothing really unhealthy about this meal. It's even bordering healthy. And believe it or not, miracles do happen and healthy food can be quite delicious.

Bun Thit Nuong - $11
Probably as close to eating a salad I'll ever get.


Some people do believe you can suss out a restaurant based on its clientele, but with this place you can't really tell. It has a mix of different people eating different types of meals for dinner from its many choices from the menu. Foods whipped up are well flavoured, and while nothing is really bland, self serve condiments are within reach and the all important hoisin sauce can save the day any day.

Unlike many places where staff are hit and miss, here it is consistently helpful and accommodating. It's akin to a no frills no spills system - well, no frills but yes spills, with a minor accident involving scalding hot soup spilled onto us - but with spills mopped up and subsequently showering us with apologies, all was forgiven.

A brightly lit, spacious, airy dining room creates a casual atmosphere where you can slurp your noodles loudly and to your heart's content without being stared at. With the standardised and recognisable thermos of hot tea given to you upon sitting down, the familiarity of Phong Vinh to Tra Vinh up the road - from similarities in its menu to the tea flasks used - CAN be justified: related owners, apparently. So the food is on par, on the better side of good.

You know you're in the vicinity of Northbridge when your dinner is interrupted by the hardworking guy, adorned with lights and other flashy devices strapped to his body, persistently selling overpriced flowers day in day out. Too bad flowers are only reserved for special occasions and dates these days, meaning I got downright rejected when I casually asked A for some flowers on a particularly normal night.

But even with its tainted reputation, you can always rely on Northbridge restaurants to stay open and dish out nourishing, good value meals. So unlike someone who won't buy you flowers, you can count on the restaurants. At least they will never let you down, or reject you.


Sun - Wed: 10am - 9pm
Friday - Sat: 10am - 10pm

(08) 9228 8238

No comments:

Post a Comment

So what did you eat today?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...