Pho Viet Long- Haymarket

You can never go wrong with Viet food!

Let’s just say the Sydney dining scene is in a good state ATM, if Friday night trade is any indication of a restaurateur’s ability to pay their staff and overheads; as every place we poked our heads in was doing bustling trade!

Chinatown Noodle King {Packed-out}; Chinatown Night Markets {Packed-out}; Gumshara Ramen {Packed-out} so much so that there was a long line just to place your orders, a long line which wasn’t moving at all! Grrrr! So we gave up on queueing for food, and chanced it with one of the other options in Eating World.

And you can’t go wrong with Viet food, can you? Sydney-siders are so familiar with Viet that most people already have in mind what they want, even before they know they’re having Viet for dinner. You also know what to expect, as the range of quality from one Viet place to another doesn’t vary all that much. And they all taste pretty much the same, right? As long as their ingredients are fresh. So if in doubt, always go Viet?

So leaving the long line of Gumshara Ramen, we tried Pho Viet Long- a long and extensive menu on offer. After studying only half of what was available to us we were already sold on items A and C – “A” being Premium Angus Beef Pho ($11.90); and “C” for me was the Bun Cha – grilled pork belly, S&S sauce with vermicelli ($11.90).

After making our orders we took our seats at a pair of high stools, and after a very brief wait a bell was rung and our number was called. The Angus beef pho was the first to appear for its glamour shots.

And soon after my Bun Cha was also ready for its time in the limelight.

Hmmmmm, so much for always knowing what you’re going to get with Viet? As my dish was something foreign to me (granted, I specifically chose it because I’d never heard of it before). But essentially it was a deconstructed Vermicelli soup noodle dish, the Vermicelli was served cold on the plate (it must had been stir fried at one point as it tasted of some wok-hei); joining it on the plate was the fresh bean sprouts and mint; whilst floating in the soup bowl was the pork and pickled carrots. What to do? Do the noodles and the herbs go into the small soup bowl? Or does the soup get sprinkled over the cold noodles? First world problems!

In the end we did a bit of both, we collected up the bean sprouts and mint and dumped them into the soup. Then ladled a few spoons of the hot soup over the cold noodles. My first chopstick full of noodles and soup, I literally exclaimed “Oh wow!” the noodles were full of flavour!!! It was sweet, salty, sour, and spicy all at the same time! I quickly took a second chopstick full, I wanted to know if the flavour was coming from the noodles, or was it from the soup. After trying a non-soup drizzled clump of vermicelli, and then trying a straight spoonful of soup – yep, the flavour was definitely coming from the soup. I had my wife try a spoonful as well, and her description of the flavour was bang-on – you know the concentrated dark dipping sauce which you get with your Laotian grilled sausages? Recall those flavours from your memory bank, but then water that down with perhaps a beef soup broth? And there you have it, the soup for my dish! And the pork belly was two different types of pork, one was the intact pieces of grilled pork which you’d usually get with your grilled pork Mành; when the second type of pork was a grilled pork patty shaped into small meatballs. Both pork types were already marinated in a tasty sauce, so I’m sure they were both adding to the depth of flavour in the soup as well. Yummy.

I tried a piece of my wife’s Angus Beef Pho – yeah, you could tell it was a premium cut of meat compared to your standard Pho meats, and she was very pleased with her dish as well.

So after my bold statements of ‘You can never go wrong with Viet’, and always knowing what you’re going to get….. I think Pho Viet Long was a pleasant surprise for us, both for its quality – considering it was in a Chinatown food court, it definitely served up two dishes which was restaurant quality; and it’s always nice to be surprised by an unfamiliar dish, just when you thought you’ve tried it all! Boom! Blindsided!

Our end verdict, 4.0 Stars from 5.0 (2.5 from 3 for Food (it was near perfect); 0.5 from 0.5 for Service (as the staff were polite and efficient); 0 from 0.5 for Atmosphere (it’s a food court after all, and the annoying thing was right at the end of our meal, we had a woman come up to each table begging for money); and 1 from 1 for Value for Money (to get Angus beef for $11.90, that’s good value in any language)).

So we were pleased that we’ve discovered a new and trustworthy Viet restaurant in the city, there are so many more places we’d like to try  in da city, but if we’re ever stuck in a long-non-moving queue, we know where to go – Pho Viet Long (no Long lines here)!

Pho Viet Long– Friday 29 March

PH: 0423 198 857

Shop 208, Eating World, 25-29 Dixon Street, Haymarket

Sun-Mon 11am – 8.30pm

Tue-Sat 11am – 9.30pm

**Accepts cash only

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