Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pho In The City

Pho (/fʌ/; Vietnamese: phở pronounced [fəː˧˩˧] ( listen)) is a Vietnamese dish consisting of broth, noodles made from rice, a few herbs, and meat. It is a popular street dish, and the specialty of several restaurant chains.

The two main varieties are chicken pho and beef pho.  The word "pho" may be derived from French pot-au-feu (beef stew).   - Wikipedia

I love beef pho! The strength and beauty of a tasty pho is in the soup and believe you me, it is hard to find a Vietnamese cafe in Wellington that serves good pho!

Whenever I feel a "pho urge", I will get my fix at Mekong Cafe at 138, Vivian Street; Wellington city ;)

The shop front of this "dingy little Vietnamese noodle house" at Vivian Street claimed to be "Wellington's Original Noodle House", it still looks the same when we arrived in Windy Wellington; 1988.

Through the years, Mekong Cafe has chang hand three time; we stopped eating there three years ago because we think the standard has dropped, we became their regulars when we discovered the present proprietor Tha-Chan have restored the quality and taste of their offer.

All in the family... from left, Tha-Chan; wife Xiumy Chung and mum Hang Go Chung.

Each table in the cafe complete with a tray full of various condiments plus a box of tissues, a scene straight out of Southeast Asia!

When we were at Mekong Cafe yesterday, we noticed Tha have done some upgrade to his little cafe; there is a new ceiling heat pump to keep us warm, new fridges and a new menu with new prices ;)

I remember in 2009, a bowl of beef pho noodle was NZ$10.00 and the last 2 years it was $10.50; now it cost $11.00. I think that is reasonable, still a very good value since most cafe charge $12.00 to $13.00 :)

My favorite is the "Combination Beef, rare; cooked meat ball" with rice noodle. The combination cost 50 cents more than the normal beef pho. My pho came with a plate of bean sprouts, coriander and a lemon wedge.

I love the firm but Crunchy cooked beef balls, they gel perfectly with the slices of rare tender beef! Combine with the delicious pho, great value at $11.50!

Under the "House Specialities" in the menu, Be Bung ($11); no doubt is the star of the show! As far as I know, no shop in Wellington produce better tasting Be Bung than Mekong!

Be Bung consists of minted salad vermicelli, grated carrot, pork balls, stir-fried beef, cut up spring rolls and peanut sauce with some chilli and mint. When you mix all these together you ended up with a really delicious concoction! Le Gen's favorite!

Depending on how hungry we are, we usually order a plate of Summer Roll ($7.00).  Apart from cooked prawns, you can have chicken or pork in this delightful roll in thin rice wrap.  The fish sauce with fried garlic is for dipping, but we usually "pour" (with spoon) it into the cut rolls!  Delicious!!

This time round we tried their "Avocado Shake" ($4.50), this is the first time I saw Avocado used in milk shake here. Such shakes are very popular in Malaysia and Singapore.  We were not disappointed, the shake was very refreshing and not overly sweet.  Next time we will try their Durian Shake :)

Our yummy dinner came to $27.00, that is really hard to beat!

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