Well, the top two go-to places for pho I have eaten in Sydney in the last 15 months we’ve been here at least.
Sydney is such a melting pot of different cultures and peoples and – yes!- food glorious food. I love the cafe culture here, but have come to realise that while most cafés I’ve been to serve up some awesome coffees, others are much more lacklustre and plain blah. The same goes with the food! Pho (pronounced simply as ‘fur’) is one of my go-to dishes here in Sydney. A lot of places serve up this simple and hearty noodle soup, and in some Chinese eateries you might even see it on the menu as well.
There is a lot of good food to be enjoyed in Sydney’s city area – but what better way to experience what this city has to offer then to wander into the suburbia Australia? And, best of all, beat the parking woes? (And I’ve heard of so many complaints from fellow Singaporeans about the ghastly carpark prices back home… but it is nothing compared to Sydney’s prices especially during the week where you might be fortunate enough to get street parking for an “affordable” $7 per hour to secured parking starting at around $15 per hour.)
An excellent bowl of pho should have a delicious and flavoursome broth, generous serving of beef slices and perfectly cooked noodles. Add the mint leaves and beansprouts, with a splash of lemon juice, a few slices of chilli and it is pretty much a gastronomical delight. And this delicious dish is a hit with my three kids! Jay loves the noodles, Xav loves the beef, and Zoie loves both the noodles and the beef. So we’re winner all around. In fact, between the three of them, they can finish up one huge bowl of noodles. And this means Mummy gets her own bowl of pho. Yay!
So yeap – today let me introduce the two best places for pho – both situated in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. Each is about 25 km away from where we live, but we (and by we, I mean the hubby) happily make the long drive to enjoy one good bowl of pho on a regular basis! There are, of course, Viet restaurants nearer where we live, but calories are a precious thing, and I have a hubby who is willing to go that extra mile (or 20) for a good, satisfying meal!
#1: An Restaurant
Address: 27 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown NSW 2200 (Google Map link here)
Opening Times: Mondays to Sundays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Quick review: This restaurant just sells pho. I kid you not. (Cos I made the noob mistake and asked the first time, only to be met with a slight smile on the waiter’s face as he slowly shook his head.) No spring roll, no fried chicken, no tomato rice or any other Viet dishes you might expect. But just pho. Different kinds of ingredients. Pho done to almost perfection. Chicken, beef – the two normal versions. Then there’s the “Specials” – which is code for offals and weird parts of the cow and chicken. I am not an innards person AT ALL so I stick with the regular version, but the hubby who enjoys such stuff loves the beef specials. For the regular beef pho, they also have two types – cooked sliced beef and raw beef (which is a beef that is pounded, and a little bit minced and raw when they put it in front of you). The kids love both, and the beef broth is a winner. The hubby tried the chicken version once, and it is not as impressive as the beef broth.
Highlights: It is a busy restaurant, and you can expect a long queue on weekends and lunch time. But there is plenty of seating, and we’ve been fortunate and gotten seats pretty much as soon as we get there. It’s a typical Asian restaurant – sit, order, eat, pay and get out. No lounging around! But I love that they have nice comfy high chairs for the baby, kid-friendly bowls, plastic spoons and best of all – they even give us a scissors once they see we have kids, all without us even asking. The menu is plastered on the wall – and entirely in Vietnamese and Chinese. We obviously have no problem reading Chinese, but the last visit, we brought some Aussie friends over too, and the waiters very promptly brought out an English menu for them.
What to do after a full meal: Check out the indoor playground Monkey Mania, which is located just opposite An Restaurant at Bankstown Sports Centre. It is HUGE. Like seriously huge. It bills itself as the largest indoor playground in Sydney, and the very first time we went in, both my boys went “WOAH!!!” and absolutely bonkers. So this has become one of our favourite way to spend the weekend (especially when it is too cold to go out) – lunch at An followed by three hours of mad play at Monkey Mania.
#2: Saigon Pho Vietnamese Restaurant
Address:Shop 8, 90 The Crescent, Homebush West, NSW 2140 – It is just opposite Flemington Station (Google Link here)
Opening Times: Mondays to Sundays, exact timing not sure, but it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Quick Review: A very nondescript little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, there is also another popular (read: long queues at meal times) just a stone’s throw away, and after trying both, the hubby and I decided that this was still our favourite between the two. The pho was pretty good, but we prefer the tomato rice, pork chop and oh-so-sinfully-yummy fried chicken drumstick. You know, the kind of fried chicken with a crispy, oily skin that crackles and juicy, succulent flesh that melts? Yeap. That kind. This restuarant offers a full range of different Viet dishes, though whenever we go there, we never seem to be able to order anything other than pho and tomato rice!
Highlight: Order the fried chicken. I repeat. Order the fried chicken. They will sell it sans rice, so it is pretty perfect as a side dish/entree.
What to do after a full meal: From the restaurant, you can actually see the Sydney Markets! So make a lunch date on Wednesdays to Sundays, when the Markets are open, and you can drive over to pick up some fresh produce and fruits to cart home.
So that’s it. Two of our favourite pho restaurants. Now all that’s left is for us to plan another time to make the trip there!
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