Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pho and tell @ Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam

I never liked show and tell back in primary school, yes a million years ago, I know. In fact I would do almost anything to get out of it. Life is much easier in this technological era, I can sit on my couch and blog away to my hearts content, share anything I like, with anyone I want. Now it may have been a struggle at age five to write a blog (let alone write a sentence), but I'm sure I would have much rather posted up a picture of my barbie doll and a little description, than gotten up on my soapbox in front of the whole grade.

So now I'm an adult, I've moved on from my show and tell about toys, to much more adult content; food, glorious food! And so my journey begins for the search of a good bowl of pho.

Now I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but after more than half a lifetime living in Melbourne (home to a serious Vietnamese population), I have never, ever before, tasted pho. So no claims from me about being an expert on pho, in fact I'm not even qualified to offer comparisons. But, if I dare say so myself, I'd like to think I have quite an international palate, so if I say it's good, clearly it must be!   

Mekong is a bustling shop right in the heart of the Melbourne CBD and I decided it would be my first pho test subject. R and I decided on an early dinner, so we avoided the queuing up that Mekong is apparently notorious for. Nevertheless the shop was still about 85% full, always a good sign. We were seated immediately, and got straight into ordering. I ordered a cold lemon and honey drink and a medium bowl of char-grilled chicken pho. R ordered a small bowl of the beef and sausage pho.

The drink was an abysmal disappointment, Mekong were more than generous with the lemon, but I could barely taste the honey. The main attraction however was the pho, so I pushed my drink aside and dipped my spoon into the broth. My broth was flavorsome and infused with the smokiness of the chicken. The chicken was cooked through fairly well and there were no bones (which I am never a fan of). However, the quality of chicken used wasn't the best, it had bits of pinkness and darker bits as well. Also the pieces of chicken were just a bit too large, given there were no knives around, breaking it into smaller pieces was not the easiest feat. The noodles on the other hand were well cooked. R enjoyed his beef and sausage pho as well, in fact he devoured the whole thing and left nothing but a miniscule puddle at the bottom. His sausage was nice and chunky and had a liver taste to it and the slices of beef were so finely cut that they cooked in the hot broth almost instantly.

We were also presented with a side plate each of sprouts, Thai basil and lemon and there were communal share ingredients of chopped red chillies and onions (for hygienic purposes, I would much prefer individual servings of these). A range of other condiments were also supplied, consisting of the 'usual suspects' you would find in any Vietnamese restaurant.

It was a tasty, cheap meal and if memory serves me right, dishes range from around $8.50 for a small to around $10.50 for a large. Service was prompt and friendly enough. If you want a nice relaxing dinning experience Mekong is not the place for you, but if you're happy to share a table with a cockroach (yes there was a dead one, belly up on the table next to us) and block out the chatter around you, I think you may in fact quite enjoy this place.

Pho Bo Ga Mekong Vietnam on Urbanspoon
My Rating: 6/10

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