I still remember my first time at Pho An.
It was about ten years ago. Back then they were in their old premises, and the decor was, well, non-existent. As we sat down at our table, a waiter seemed to materialise from thin air and almost leapt on us with questioning eyes waiting for our order. Brandishing an electronic keypad(which was impressive itself back in those days), he tapped in our orders impatiently and with furious speed.
As he strode his way to the kitchen I began my obligatory inspection of the table condiments when~~BAM! Splash! BAM! BAM! Clunk. Clang. Whoosh.
Three giant bowls of steaming pho in a blink of an eye. Ready! Now! Eat!
That's when we started calling it McPho. Especially when they took our bowls away before we'd even finished eating!
These days Pho An has indeed become a McPho of Sydney-wide success. They've moved a few doors down, they have matching furniture, and the seating capacity is akin to a university dining hall. There's a motion-sensor glass door entrance, a funky looking logo, and a sign that isn't blue and red text on backlit white.
And their pho is still notoriously speedy. It's the only thing on the menu.
I mean you can have it ten different ways with beef (rare beef, cooked beef, brisket beef, flank, special brisket, tendon, beef roll, cartilage, tripe or beef combination), and five different ways with chicken (chicken, chicken and eggs, chicken and intestine, chicken with rare or cooked beef or chicken combination) but... they're all pho.
Pho (pronounce it like fur? with a question mark on the end) is Vietnamese noodle soup for the soul. Clear sweet broth bathes a tangle of slippery fresh rice noodles. Reclining atop is the flesh of your desire along with a few slices of thinly shaved onion and a smattering of coriander and shallots.
The fun lies in the accompanying plate of greens. Submerge your raw slices of beef into the steaming hot broth with a poke of your chopsticks, and then give it some privacy with a curtain of raw bean sprouts, torn shards of Vietamese basil and a generous douse of freshly squeezed lemon.
Pho is the cure-all for any ailment. It's so darn healthy but it tastes so good.
I know many who swear that Pho An is the best in Sydney, and who will traverse their way across town to satiate a craving.
Their pho is reliably good but at $9.70 for a "small" (they mean regular) serving, it should be. You can upsize to a large for $10.80, and if you're a real carnivore, you can request extra meat for another $1.50.
See? It's just like Macca's.
(Except you know, um, without the toys. And the freaky-looking clown. And the global corporatisation of... Oh ok. Forget it...)
Pho An Restaurant
27 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown, Sydney
Tel: 02 9796 7826
Open 7 days, 7am - 9pm
Surcharge $1.10 per person on public holidays.
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9/20/2005 11:14:00 pm