Tag Archives: Vietnamese food

cold, poor and lonely: the prescription is pho

I’d been really unwell but had made a commitment to catsit in a part of town that I didn’t actually realise is something of a personal Bermuda triangle for me. My body was hating me – everything was making me nauseous and/or vomit. Even asthma attacks – if I coughed too hard, I threw up.

Life was going well but eventually my body conspiring against me was really starting to get me down in a almost in tears way.

I don’t do tears. Anger, apparently, but not tears.

Thankfully, Tristan came to give me a bit of comfort and distraction. The trio of cats I was looking after were equally wonderful, but somewhat ravenous (I’d thrown up on myself practising my melodica with no warning and they tried to eat my vomit, I shit you not).

Both of us were poor. Box Hill was nearby. It was time for pho. It seemed somewhat sacrilegious to go to Box Hill for pho rather than not Richmond or Footscray but I had no money to fill up my petrol tank.

We decided to give Pho 888 a shot. At least if I hurled, it would have been with the knowledge that it provided some comfort and sustenance at the time and at $8 a bowl, it wasn’t going to be a guilty hurl either.

Pho 888's magic sign

Tris got the sliced rare beef pho which I coveted. Can’t go wrong with the classics, can you? Warning in advance: the photos are as ghetto as I was feeling.

sliced rare beef pho

The condiments were more than pleasing – generous amounts of everything and fresh. Always an excellent sign.

pho condiments

Despite my food envy over Tris’ choice, I went with the beef sausage with black peppercorn pho. I first had something similar at Co Do and it has haunted my palate ever since in the best way possible. So, so good. My dish did not disappoint and I slurped and scarfed down my bowl as if I’d never had pho in my life. Apparently it was just the thing to settle my ailing stomach. Oh noodles, why you be so good to me.

beef sausage with black peppercorns pho

Service is minimal, but that was part of the charm. I’d chosen it based on Urbanspoon ratings and proximity to trio of adorable beasties’ palace and quite a shame I actually live so far as I’d definitely revisit though would be keen to hear my self-appointed pho king Billy’s opinion on it of course as my broth palate isn’t anywhere near as developed as his.

Pho 888 Box Hill on Urbanspoon

what to do at Co Do

It came time to herd the pho-loving crew to Victoria Street in Melbourne. Given that there are no shortage of places, I suggested we try another place aside from our beloved Pho Chu The – Co Do, seeing as they were at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival hawkers’ market. I didn’t get to sample their wares then and had promised myself I’d visit the restaurant instead.

action shot!

Pho club regular @techydude wasted no time in showing us how things were done once we all arrived and ordered. He got one of those cool beverages that actually reminded me of something I’d seen at Malaysian restaurant Coconut House. An amused @adnrw laughs on.

Tris and I got smoothies – he got an avocado one, and I got a jackfruit one! I love jackfruit and used to eat it in ice cream in the Philippines. Delish.

avocado smoothie

jackfruit smootie

Cam was kind enough to let me snap a photo of his pho choice (not before showing off his wonderful iPhone 4…grrr…). He had the braised beef pho.

braised beef pho

Which incidentally, we were told by the waiter, is exactly the same as the beef and beef brisket pho Tristan had?!?! They do look remarkably similar…hmm. So why they are listed as different items on the menu is beyond me if even the staff think it’s the same thing.

beef & beef brisket pho

I went all crazy Azn and got the pho bo ga dac biet (special beef and chicken combination rice noodle soup). It had sliced beef, sliced chicken, chicken and beef offal, and a gorgeous peppery beef sausage. Oddly enough, I only left my beef and chicken liver and ate most of that which I did not recognise. This pho kicked major arse in the meat and offal department, but sadly the broth was not quite as flavoursome and tasty as some I’ve had. Billy, bring on the congealed blood!

pho bo ga dac biet (special beef and chicken combination rice noodle soup)

However, it’s definitely worthy of a repeat visit and the menu is huge, containing many non-pho options. At around $10 a bowl, it’s not going to break the bank either. Thanks to all who made it to this round of pho club and stay tuned for the next one.¬†Just make sure you skilfully avoid the junkies on your way out of the shop.¬†Alas, T and I missed out on post-pho beers with the gang because we had to dash across town to Biero Bar and quaff some Mikkellers. It’s a hard life! .

Co Do on Urbanspoon

pho club’s second meeting

A good mate of mine, Rich, said he works opposite a great pho place and said a few of us should go for dinner one day. Unbeknownst to me, he meant one I’d been to before. Pho Chu The Bo Ga is always packed. If you want to eat there, then this is something you will need to bear in mind when you arrive. The stream of diners coming and going is pretty constant so don’t be put off if you need to wait.

Because I didn’t dip my tripe in hoisin as recommended by Vietnamese cuisine aficionado Billy on my previous pho outing, I went the special beef pho. It has tripe, sliced beef and beef balls. Normally beef or fish balls taste a bit…dodgy, but the ones in this were freaking delicious.

special beef pho

Tris went the sliced beef and beef brisket. Sorry about the blurry photo. The beef is always thinly sliced and tender.

beef and beef brisket pho

Everyone who went to the inaugural phoTUB was here, plus Rich. Most of them went for plain beef pho. The service here is great – fast, always super-friendly and efficient. Rich actually told us that he calls them up to order and they bring him his pho across the road. When he finishes, he takes the bowls back and pays. How is that for takeaway?

It was great to go again.

Chu The Pho Bo Ga on Urbanspoon