photo by Rafa Prada
photo by Rafa Prada

It’s just Phobolous!

It’s Asian and you eat it with chopsticks, you fall in love with it after the first bite and you could have it every day, what is it?

Sushi, right? Wrong!

It’s the Nguyen‘s Pho, the anise-powered rice noodle soup from Vietnam.

The legend goes that in the small streets of Hong Kong, among tea markets and vase shops, one can find the best Dim Sum in the world. However, as we all know, legends tend to be overrated. As a matter of fact, Vancouver is said to host the tastiest and most delicious Dim Sum on the planet, because of its water and ingredients quality.

What does this have to do with Pho and Vietnam, you might ask. Well, we could apply the same story to the Pho, which was exported and internationalized by the Vietnamese refugees after the Vietnamese War, and many believe that the tastiest Phos are to be found outside their homeland. Anyway, this is something I’m sure of: Nguyen is probably the best Vietnamese you can find in the Austrian capital.

Enough with history, let’s go back to real story.

Steamy and always full, the restaurant does not give you the impression whatsoever that you are actually in a European metropolis. Somewhere in South-East Asia, I would say.

The style is minimalistic; after all it is not the most important feature (even though I wouldn’t mind some kick ass dragons painted on the walls…).

The menu is enriched with other typical dishes, from the Bun Bo Cha Gio to the Ga Xa Ot and Bun Thit Nuong, whose sound is as cool as their look!

Anyway, let’s skip the choosing process, since I had, for once, no doubt: “I’d like a Pho Ga, please” (Pho with chicken), that’s it. The most famous dish is however the Pho Bo, which is Pho with beef, so if you want to follow the tradition, go for this one.

Boom, there we go: a big bowl with an extra dish of raw vegetables and spices, to put in the Pho at your own choosing. Abundant, rich and colorful to my eyes; savory, aromatic and intense to my nose; succulent, flavorful and addictive to my mouth, Nguyen’s Pho left me speechless.

The ginger’s fresh piquancy, the coriander and basil’s depth, and the vague yet unmistakable sweetness achieved the perfect balance of flavors.

As a beverage to accompany your dish I would recommend a refreshing ginger tea.

The Verdict: Do yourself a favor and go, Nguyen’s Pho is something nobody wants to miss out on. Just make sure to book a table if you’re going on the weekend, as it’s kinda full. With that being said, enjoy your Pho!

Nguyen Pho House