Pho is a well known and loved Vietnamese dish. It’s noodle soup and what makes it distinctively Vietnamese is the fragrant soup, rice noodles, various sliced meat (usually beef) and a heap of green onion layered on top. The taste of this dish can be exotic for the uninitiated, but it’s so worth the experience. I remember back in the mid 1990s when Pho restaurants were usually packed with predominately Asians, but now that this dish in 2021 is more ubiquitous, Pho restaurants now reflect a mix of anyone. This dish and the general public’s perception has come a long way in the last 30 years.
In Melbourne’s south east, Springvale is home to some of the best South-East Asian cuisine restaurants. If you are looking for the capital of Vietnamese cuisine in Melbourne, look no further than the restaurants in Springvale. I think Springvale beats Footscray, Richmond and the CBD in terms of Vietnamese restaurants, but also the grocery shopping.
Pho Thin has opened at least two restaurants in Melbourne. The first was in Hardware Lane in the CBD and they also have a Pho Thin in Springvale, which opened in the later half of 2020.
What makes Pho Thin unique is that the pho is reminiscent of North Vietnamese version of pho, which has lots more herbs and a clearer and simpler broth. In addition, unlike other pho they offer a fried up beef option, where the beef is cooked in garlic before adding to the soup. This definitely adds a unique flavor profile to the beef which isn’t replicated at other pho restaurants I’ve visited, (Other pho restaurants tend to add raw sliced beef and cooked brisket, tendons and other bits and pieces without frying the meat.)
With my bowl of pho, I had the option to add in steamed bean sprouts, basil, lemon and chili (fresh, oil and pickled). You could also add pepper and fish sauce to change up the flavor profile of your broth to your taste.
I also noticed that there is either no MSG or added MSG. So I didn’t get any build up of phlegm after eating my bowl.
I can safely say that I really enjoyed a bowl of their Mixed Pho, which came with their signature fried up beef, beef brisket and chicken slices. It was delicious and satisfying. This dish was AUD$15. Most of the other dishes are around AUD$13.50 to $15.
The other thing that struck me was their hot jasmine tea, which was a mix of jasmine and another super fragrant tea (I couldn’t put my finger on). It was really good tea,
I love a good Vietnamese restaurant. You get so much for what you pay for, from free tea to a host of condiments to make your dish the way that you want.
In terms of pho, I would definitely put it up there, but I think there is a better pho restaurant in Springvale that is pretty much an institution and has been ever since my earliest memory. It’s called Hung Vuong and they do a Southern Vietnamese pho. I will write about it on a later date.
Pho Thin is located near 268-274 Springvale Road (it is better to enter on foot and you will see it on Buckingham Ave, Springvale VIC 3171):
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