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May 10, 2020

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Pho To Shop for a flavorsome Vietnamese food trip

PHO To Shop opened its doors at the end of last year offering traditional dishes and flavors reminiscent of the ones you find on the streets of Vietnam, such as pho and banh mi.

The husband and wife team, Quang Minh and Nguyen Tu Anh, are dedicated to serving uniquely seasoned, freshly-prepared dishes with real ingredients.

The small eatery, facing the busy Wuding Road nightlife street, may not be anything fancy regarding its interior style. But the owners are determined to provide an authentic eatery to show off the abundance of Vietnamese delicacies in their various forms.

The meal I had here transported me back in time to Vietnam, from the north to the south. The tastes satisfied and soothed, particularly the pungent greens and herbs that figure in almost every dish.

I started my dinner with Banh Cuon — a soft steamed rice roll filled with ground pork and wood ear mushrooms.

These soft bite-sized appetizers, in a fish sauce, are delicate, mildly flavored and a good pick to start off with. There are other Vietnamese rolls on offer, such as fresh shrimp and pork rolls to fried versions, accommodating to the customers’ different tastes.

I love Vietnamese noodle soups, particularly the central Vietnam recipe bun bo hue. It originated in Hue, the former imperial capital of Vietnam. It’s made of vermicelli, generous slices of beef shank, pork meat and a broth in which lemongrass and shrimp paste are the star players. Basil leaves, banana flower and morning glory brought a freshness to the tasty bowl of brothy vermicelli.

The weather is getting warmer and no dish is a better pick, when it gets hot, than Hanoi’s iconic bun cha, another must-try. A long-time staple in the Vietnamese capital, it earned its place in the international spotlight when Barack Obama and Anthony Bourdain were seen enjoying a bowl at the family-owned Bun Cha Huong lien. Grilled pork belly is served with rice noodles, fragrant assorted herbs and leaves and a bowl of sweet-and-sour dipping sauce. The right way to eat bun cha is to incorporate all these elements into the building of your bowl. Pho To Shop is the type of neighborhood eatery you will go back to, time and again. They do simple, authentic Vietnamese meals, very well.


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