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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Saigon Pho, Haymarket Chinatown

combination drink
Combination drink $3.00

Saigon Pho, in Sussex Centre Food Court, has always fed me well. This little stall, past the noodle houses and right down the end of the food court strip, has satiated my hungry belly since long-gone university days.

The friendly Vietnamese man is still there, ever-smiling and non-ageing.

A colourful array of sweet beans, fruits and jellies languish in neat little bowls at the counter, waiting to be scooped into plastic cups and topped with ice and coconut milk. It's been a hot day so I have my usual combination drink: a little bit of everything, including agar strips, jackfruit, grass jelly, mung beans, red beans and lychee.

A loud whirring rattle from the creaking ice machine produces thick jagged shards of ice--more for chewing than sucking through a straw--and then the whole lot is covered in a ladle of coconut milk and a scoop of clear sugar syrup. It's a little more rustic in appearance than most places, but the glut of sweet treasures down the bottom more than makes up for it.

pork chop with bbq pork
No. 26: Pork chop with bbq pork with rice $7.00

It's the Vietnamese-style bbq pork that I usually go for here, that sweet caramelised pork sticky with a delicious marinade of fish sauce, garlic, sugar, lemongrass and lime. Today AN has the pork chop with a skewer of bbq pork fillet that sits on an enormous bed of broken rice. To the side is a tousle of bi, thin shreds of pork mixed with shredded pork skin covered in roasted rice powder.

A slice of tomato, discs of cucumber and a jumble of pickled carrot and white radish provide refreshment. The whole lot is doused with the accompanying bowl of nuoc cham, the ubiquitous Vietnamese dressing of fish sauce, sugar, garlic, vinegar and chilli.

bbq pork chop with egg
No. 22: BBQ pork chop with egg and rice $7.80

I have the number 22 which comes with two pork chops and a cheerful fried egg, sunny side up.

The pork is soft and juicy and not overly fatty. There are plenty of charred caramelised bits and the generous serving of rice seems to go on forever. Neither of us can finish it.

A complimentary bowl of clear soup topped with green onions helps clear the palate. The most frustrating part of the meal is trying to eat the pork chop using plastic cutlery. Real cutlery is no longer provided anymore, which is a shame as I usually prefer this food court in Chinatown because of its cheerful atmosphere and abundance of natural light.

I'll still come back. There's a pork chop waiting with my name all over it.


Saigon Pho
Sussex Centre Food Court
Shop F6 (Level 1)
401-403 Sussex Street, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney

Tel: +61 (02) 9212 5387

Open 7 days 10am-9pm

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Saigon Pho, November 2004
Saigon Village, Haymarket
Happy Chef, Sussex Centre Food Court
7 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 1/11/2007 11:58:00 pm


  • At 1/12/2007 2:18 am, Blogger Melting Wok said…

    Hi Helen, looks like you preety much covered the wonderful flavors of Vietnam/Saigon in Sydney :) We got a similar one like the grill pork skewers here, but the Californians prefer the "tit noang" ( grill pork cutlet ) instead. Wandering if they serve any beancurd sheet wrap shrimp patties there ? It's a hit here too, cheers ! :)

  • At 1/12/2007 12:53 pm, Blogger Best Australian Hotels said…


    Best Australian Hotels is pleased to announce that your blog, Grab Your Fork has been nominated in the Aussie Best Blog 2007 (Most Mouth-Watering Blog Award).

    To view the Blog Contest, you may check out: http://www.bestaustralianhotels.com

    Thank you, and good luck!

    bestaustralianhotels team

  • At 1/13/2007 8:54 am, Blogger Yvo Sin said…

    *sees above comment* ooh, good luck!

    Mmm, lucky me, I just had Vietnamese food last night or I'd really cry. I just found out parts of Chinatown deliver to me!!! How awesome is that?! So I had it all delivered, pho... yum!! and in the summer, bun! Yay :)

    ps the place also makes bubble tea. while I'm not a huge fan, I'm amazed- bubble tea delivered to my door!

  • At 1/26/2007 9:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your work Helen. I too have been going here for ages - at least 15 years. The pho bo (beef noodle soup) is excellent, and for variety I also have the pork chops with rice and the bbq pork vermicelli.

  • At 1/29/2007 12:25 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi Helen... I like the drinks at Saigon Pho, and also the Pork Chop with broken rice!

    As a suggestion, have you tried Indonesian Fried Rice at Sushi Boy or Famous Pork Chop at Nam Vang? They are both at Sussex St Food Court and my favourites too.

  • At 11/07/2009 8:49 am, Anonymous Aizzi said…

    Helen, Where is the best place in Sydney CBD to have Pho?? I am in search!!

  • At 11/08/2009 11:53 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Aizzi - I don't often have pho in the city, but the versions at Pho Pasteur (709 George Street) and Gia Hoi (711 George Street) in Haymarket both seem pretty good. They're a few doors up from the Mountbatten Hotel.


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