The little community at Truc Bach village - a quiet pocket of this bustling capital - packs the starving masses in at lunch and dinner for their specialty dish, Pho Cuon. Roughly a dozen eateries are scattered around the intersection of Nguyen Khac Hieu and Ngu Xa streets, all seemingly busy pumping out identical fodder. For no apparent reason, we frequent Pho Cuon Vinh Phong regularly.
Pho Cuon are moist white tubes of rolled noodle sheet containing slivers of sauteed beef, lettuce and herbs. They are rolled to order before our very eyes, whacked on plastic plates and delivered with a nuoc mam dipping sauce. I like a bit of heat, so I give a fresh chili boost to the sauce. Closely related to the fresh spring roll, these cylindrical snacks have a simple, balanced flavour and can be addictive. For me, a ten roll sitting would be normal! Bloody healthy, though!
Healthy until the second course arrives, that is. The fat hits the pan at this juncture and is later noticeable on my arse and thighs! Pho Chien Phong Xao Bo is a wok fry of garlic, beef and spinach alongside little golden fried noodle sheet pillows, which are as morish as chips. Lots of these little pillows add up to one big pillow - under my T-shirt! Another local delicacy in this neck of the woods is Cha Ngan Nuong, goose grilled with lemongrass over hot coals, using the familiar fan-waving technique which surely causes repetitive strain injury. Goosey Gander is a bit on the chewy side for my liking and is served with purple poison, of which I'm very wary.
The ambience here is all mauve and blue plastic furniture, across the street shouting and countryside waiters mucking about. All good fun! If you're not seated kerbside, you may be ushered to the top floor. Do not open any doors on the way up. I did one night and sprang Nana washing her hair in a plastic basin!Out of Pocket
15 pho cuon rolls (1500VND each), one pillow maker, one goosey gander, two Bia Hanoi - 63,000VND (USD$3.95, AUD$5.25)
Pho Cuon Vinh Phong,
40 Ngu Xa Street
Tel: 715 0133
(They do deliveries)