Pho is one of the food that I miss most.
If you didn't know, pho is Vietnamese noodle soup, typically topped with rare beef slices, although nowadays there are a lot of topping variations. It's said to be the staple food of Vietnamese, and I've also heard from my Vietnamese friends that they used to eat pho everyday in Vietnam.
Not many pho restaurants here, whilst I can get one great bowl of pho easily by taking the train to Cabramatta in Sydney.
Luckily the mother was craving pho too, so we went to a rather well-known Vietnamese restaurant in Serpong, Pho 24. Although located in the midst of many neighbouring restaurants, it's found easily, thanks to the huge logo on top.
|Pho 24 in Serpong|
The restaurant provides outdoor and indoor dining, but it was too humid that day to dine outdoor.
|Clockwise from top left: outdoor dining, sauces, pho explanation on table|
The indoor dining has a old-school feeling, due to the use of old-looking hanging lanterns, simple wooden chairs and tables, bricks wall, and Vietnamese pictures. The tables for one are also provided on the front corner.
It's kinda hard to get decent light and I don't really like using flash in restaurants, but we managed to get the table nearest to the windows.
|Clockwise from top left: tables for one, old-looking lanters, Vietnamese pictures, dim indoor dining|
The iced lemon tea is great and refreshing, the lemon taste isn't artificial at all, probably the best lemon tea I've had.
|Iced lemon tea - IDR 13,000 ($1.4)|
The veggie condiments are extremely little given, consisting of raw beansprout, mint leaves, coriander, basil, sliced chilli, and lemon. But compare this poor-looking plates with the mountain of beansprout and other fresh herbs given at Cabramatta Vietnamese restaurants. I really wish there were more of them.
Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls arrived piping hot and deliciously crunchy. The skin is a bit oily, but still acceptable. The fillings are minced chicken and few chopped herbs, which are very tasty and flavorsome. Dipping them into the sweet chilli sauce is highly recommended, as they paired perfectly. They maybe aren't my fav seafood spring rolls from Bau Truong, but they are great for a temporary replacement.
|Vietnamese deep fried spring rolls - IDR 24,000 ($2.6)|
The second appetizer was dau hu cien or fried tofu with sprinkled chilli and lemongrass. The tofu is silky smooth and the skin is gloriously golden. Although the tofu itself is already quite salty, the lemongrass flakes are even more salty. The dried chilli doesn't give spicy kick as expected, but there's lemongrass chilli on the side to provide heat for the spicy tooth. The elders found this dish too salty, yet the youngsters (me included hehe) found this one moreish.
|Fried tofu with sprinkled chilli and lemongrass - IDR 16,000 ($1.8)|
Now for the main dish of the day! The bowl of pho chin (pho noodle soup with well done beef brisket) holds plenty of finesse, and was served in medium-sized bowl although I ordered the small one.
The broth is surprisingly very tasty and light, I love it instantly from the first sip. It's not as flavorsome as the one from Bau Truong, but much less oily. The beef slices are tender though cooked well done. Indonesians aren't fond of rare beef, so maybe the they cooked it well done. The rice noodles are actually the thinnest pho rice noodles I've ever had, but they're still great. Add the fresh veggie condiments and the bowl becomes irresistible.
|Pho chin (pho noodle soup with well done beef brisket) - IDR 34,000 ($3.8)|
The brother is a very non-adventurous boy, so he opted for the save and simple deep fried chicken. They arrived in chunks, very unexpected. The fried chicken is accompanied by salt and pepper on the side to give flavour. The fried chunks are actually too bland eaten alone, until the humble salt and pepper are involved. Another moreish fried things.
|Deep fried chicken - IDR 35,000 ($3.8)|
The green mango, papaya and fresh mint salad with grilled chicken would make a great one as appetizer, but we actually ordered them as dessert.
Fresh and light is how I'll describe this dish. The fresh salad is topped with the light seasoned grilled chicken, and they balance very well. The julienned papaya and mango aren't too sour, and chopped mint adds more freshness. The chicken is tender although a wee bit dry, and the salad is a bit too sweet for my liking. More sourness would be great.
|Green mango, papaya and fresh mint salad with grilled chicken - IDR 28,000 ($3.1)|
Overall, I love this restaurant as it gives me reminiscence of eating pho at a Vietnamese restaurant in Cabramatta. And I just can't stop myself from craving pho everytime the rain comes.
They said they have franchise in Sydney, apparently. Anyone ever seen Pho 24 in Sydney?
Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Good pho, although I've had the better, other menus are also good, cozy and quiet ambiance, price is affordable, service is helpful.
Flavor Bliss area, unit 8 Alam Sutera