Since we’re probably going to be spending more time than we ever thought we would in that Channel One mall (thanks to that Soma indie Chinese summer series… oh, and the realization that there is an H&M that close to where we live), we figured we might as well check out the food court we’ve been hearing all about. Specifically, its pho place, since Vietnamese is big now and we’re still on the lookout for decent pho fare.
Called Pho Yummy and located on the sixth floor, the store in question shells out Vietnamese fast food kind of the way Ajisen shells out ramen noodles. The decor was Ikea-esque, with clean lines, simple and cute character designs and a baby blue and white palette. Little decals, like those rice paddy hats, were in just about everything – the walls, the uniforms, etc.
We started with rice paper rolls wrapping prawn, mango, vermicelli and herbs (16RMB) and prawn cakes with chili garlic dipping sauce (18RMB). Out of the two, we liked the prawn cakes better. Nice and crispy on the outside, and tender with that right amount of tenderness on the inside. We also took a swing at their chicken curry main course (26RMB), which you can order with french baguette bread or noodles to dip in the very thick curry sauce. We declared it decent fare and pretty filling.
But you’re curious about the pho, of which they have something like 13 variations all priced between 22RMB to 26RMB. We ordered the Pho Yummy house special, the most expensive of the bunch. It was a decent portion size – not quite the giant heaping bowls we’ve seen in some other places, but definitely enough to feed someone moderately hungry enough to bursting.
The noodles (those wide ones we’ve seen all around here) were slippery and firm enough to be satisfying. The meat was a little less so: some was a little tough and we didn’t detect any tripe in our bowl, just tendon, meatballs that kind of tasted like fish and some beef strips – thrown in to cook last minute in the hot broth, a detail we liked. The details of the broth itself confused us though, mostly because it didn’t taste like any pho broth we’d come across so far. It took us a while to decide what it did taste like, and why it felt like it’d be weird to squeeze hoisin sauce and chili paste in there with our usual pho-eating aplomb: Taiwanese beef noodle soup.
We guess (since the chef actually is Vietnamese) that the broth was made to appease local, not quite used to Vietnamese food, office worker taste buds. Luckily, we like Taiwanese beef noodle soup and if we were looking for a pho broth that wasn’t really pho broth, its better than some of the wimpy watery stuff we’ve seen elsewhere. And its cheaper too.
Plus, the place has been open for less than a month and, while it might be fast food, it’s not yet a franchise. We’ll be curious to see if the pho broth evolves as the customer base gets keener on “real authentic Vietnamese food.” Goodness knows, we’ll probably be heading there quite a few weekends before the summer ends.
Pho Yummy is located on the 6F, Channel 1 Mall, 155 Changshou Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu (长寿路155号6楼，近陕西北路), Hours 10am to 10pm
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