Tag Archives: Vietnamese

Pho – cheap & modern Vietnamese street food

The cooler autumn weather is screaming for hot steaming soups. When travelling in Vietnam many years ago we fell in love with Pho, the clear soup with noodles and beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga), which is served with lime, fresh chili and Vietnamese greens.  In Vietnam they serve it at most street stalls, often for breakfast. Very delicious.

Back in Denmark we had to travel half-way through Copenhagen to find a Vietnamese restaurant. And the only modern one, Nhà Hàng, is ridiculously expensive as is has almost doubled its prices since it opened. That’s just not right.

Back to London, where there are quite a few Vietnamese restaurants, most of them in East London. We mainly eat out in Soho where Sam works and luckily Pho, a small chain of smart-looking restaurants serving cheap Vietnamese street food, decided to open another shop smack in the middle of Wardour Street.

We tried it a few days ago and their phos were just lovely. (Warning to purists: This IS a modernised version of Vietnamese, meaning trendy young waiters, cosy contemporary interior and not always 100% authentic food combinations.)

We both had the Pho Bo Dac Biet (with steak, brisket and meatballs). It was easily the best meatballs I’ve had in a pho soup; dark meaty and succulent and not chewy at all. I would have liked a bit more greens to garnish the soup and the stock was not mind-blowing, just very good. Pho also gets an extra point for putting a lot of sauces on the tables (two different chili sauces, fish sauce & hoisin sauce). That way you can mix your own perfect taste combination.

Prices are low: soups cost between 6.95 – 8.45 pounds. See the whole menu here.

Pho, 163-165 Wardour Street, London (plus 4 more locations)

Read about another of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants, Song Que Café in East London.

Vietnam nam – Song Que Cafe

Photo: Mette Bassett

Nogle af Londons bedste Vietnamesiske restauranter ligger klynget sammen i en radius af 500 meter i Shoreditch i Østlondon, nærmere bestemt området omkring Old Street og Kingsland Road. En af vores favoritter er Song Que Café, som er en autentisk udgave af den sindssygt over-priced Le Le Nha Hang i København.

Hos Song Que Café er der også altid kø udenfor, men det går hurtigt med at få plads i det højloftede, cafeteria-lignende lokale. Betjeningen er en smule fortravlet og ikke super venlig (men som dansker, der er vant til Københavns ubehøvlede tjenere, er dette det rene paradis).  Og maden er billig og lækker, plus de har alle klassikerne på kortet, inklusive nogle af mine favoritter: Pho (suppe), Ban Xeo (sprød pandekage med fyld), Bun Thit Nuong (kolde nudler med fx. grøntsager, forårsruller og grillet svinekød). En hovedret koster 7-8 pund.

Og så skader det heller ikke, at de har den vildeste kitsch, mintgrønne bar med et par giga plastic-hummere klasket på. Som min (designer)veninde sagde: “De kunne se rigtig cool ud på en hat.” Helt enig.

Song Que Cafe, 134 Kingsland Road, E2 8DY. Se kort.

English: A lot of London’s best and cheapest Vietnamese restaurant lie side by side in Shoreditch in East London and most are on Old Street and Kingsland Road. One of our favourites is Song Que Café. There’s always a queue of hungry customers waiting to be let into the big cafeteria-style room. You rarely have to wait more than five minutes though before you’re pushed towards your table by a rather stressed waiter

Rushed service aside, the food is cheap and yummy and the menu has all the Vietnamese classics such as Pho (soup), Ban Xeo (crispy pancake w. meat and veggies), Bun Thit Nuong (cold noodles w. spring rolls or grilled pork). A main costs around 7-8 pounds.

It doesn’t hurt either that they have the world’s coolest kitsch bar: mint green and inhabited by a couple of giant plastic lobsters. As my (designer)friend said: “They would look cool on a hat.” I couldn’t agree more…

Song Que Cafe, 134 Kingsland Road, E2 8DY. Map.

Photo: Mette Bassett