Tuesday, January 26, 2010

#14 Huong Vuong 2 (150 Victoria St)

Attendees: Emma, Steph, Beata

Chopstick Chowdown this week is unexpectedly overshadowed by a street festival. With Victoria Street blocked off from Church St to Hoddle St (incidentally the scope we have set for ChChCh) the street is buzzing with life, activity and most of all lots and lots of people. This does not look like Melbourne...I am imagining being in Saigon.
Smokey food stalls sell barbequed corn on the cob, parcels of beef in bentel leaf on skewers, pork balls, fried squid tentacles and much more. There is a delight of smells and sounds and the occasional waft of burning. Each restaurant seems to be represented by a food stall. In addition there are stalls selling cheap clothing, DVDs and meditation (how the man is meditating amongst this cacophany one can only speculate...). I am most fascinated by the numerous sugar cane juice stalls where whole stalks are fed into a machine which spits juice out one hole and mascerated sugar cane out the other. Finally to complete the picture there are carnival rides.

However, the challenge must go on and after 20 minutes of searching for a parking spot and fighting my way through the hundreds deep festival crowd, I finally joined Steph and Emma at Huong Vuong for another dose of pho.

Another small cheerful place with the customary plastic tables, hard chairs and less than 27 items on the menu. But contemporary enough to be showing the Australian Open tennis on the regulatory plasma screen.

Pho is the speciality but we are also able to score some spring rolls. They are delicate, light and tasty. The size of a little finger they go down easily in two bites and although I am not able to discern what they contain, they are perfectly crisp and hit the spot.

The beef pho is good. The noodles are slippery and soft, the broth safe and the beef very thin and tender.

Proxy number 13 is chicken combination pho. The broth is delicious with a great body and saltiness. There is a wealth of chicken matter in the soup. Tender chicken pieces, a dark brown 3D rectangle (which we assume on tasting to be liver), kidneys and giblets. We are dubious after our previous giblet experience. “It’s like chewing on an ear” still echoes in my head. But I am prepared to give giblets another go and this one is nowhere near as chewy. Still one giblet was enough. Steph opts for the pork on broken rice which comes with a fried egg on top looking great.

Overall not much to fault this little pho eatery.

We lurched back out into the street to find dessert at the festival. It was banana coated in glutinous rice and batter. Fried. Smothered in a sweet coconut sauce with translucent bubbles (tapioca?). Yeah it was good!


Beef pho 8/10
Spring rolls 7.3/10
#13 (chicken combination pho) 7.3/10

Hung Vuong 2 on Urbanspoon

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