Pho – Vietnamese street food


A few weeks ago I went to the soft launch of Trinity Kitchen in Leeds and even then I could feel that this food hall was going to be like no other. Along with four different street vendors that change monthly, there are seven permanent restaurants.

pho

Pho (pronounced fuh) is the national dish of Vietnam, a warming soup with a base of a flavoursome stock, rice noodles and fresh vegetables.

I had a email from the lovely people at Pho, inviting me to come down and sample their Vietnamese Street food. It’s the perfect weather for warming soups like Pho so, I was really looking forward to sampling the food.

As well as a wide range of Pho dishes, the restaurant also serves:

  • Goi, a range of spicy Vietnamese salads;
  • Pho Xao, wok fried flat noodles;
  • Bun noodles, which are served with a little bowl of Nucoc Cham sauce (a type of dipping sauce);
  • Com Tam the Vietnamese take on Thai curry.

The neon red of the Pho logo is the first thing you see when you arrive at Trinity Kitchen. Next your eyes are drawn to the freshly prepared vegetables and Summer rolls (we will get on to them in a bit) displayed as you queue up to place your order.

Looking into the open plan kitchen you get the sense that Pho is a fun place to work – the staff are happy and the team get the dishes out in record time.

First up, when we visited was the Muc Chien Gion, (Tender Fried Baby Squid), it’s served with a salt and pepper mix which turns into a tangy dip when you squeeze in the fresh lime.

Muc chien gion- tender fried baby squid

I loved the Nem Nuong (Pork and Lemongrass Meatballs), you wrap them up in the herbs and salad leaves that accompanies the dish. Dipped in the Sriracha table sauce provided these spicy little balls have a fierce kick (in a good way).

Nem nuong- pork and lemongrass meatballs

The Goi Cuon (Summer Spring Rolls) had to be my favourite, both the Prawn and chicken varieties. Served with nuoc cham for me and the peanut sauce for my friends.

Goi cuon- summer spring rolls

I did wonder how they made them look so good. In the past when I have tried to make rice spring rolls they always seem to go a bit pear shaped and look a bit of a mess.

Hopefully after watching the experts at work at Pho I might fare better next time.

I asked Stephen Wall Co-founder of Pho where he and his wife Jules got their inspiration for the Pho concept:

“We traveled to Vietnam ten years ago and fell in love with the food over there, especially the Pho noodle soup the national dish of Vietnam.

“When we got home we wondered why nowhere was specialising in this type of food like they do in the US, so we decided to give it a punt.

“Our thinking was, if we didn’t do it then someone else would as the food is so truly amazing.”

Ten years and eight restaurants later, Pho is a month into trading at Leeds Trinity Kitchen, their ninth restaurant. Why Leeds? well, having a permanent restaurant at Trinity Kitchen was too good an opportunity to miss out on.

And the dish that you have to try if you go to Pho? The Pho noodles of course ! I had a bowl of the hot and spicy beef brisket Pho (Bun Bo Hue), took it back to my desk at work and made all my work colleges very jealous.

Bun bo hue- hot and spicy brisket beef

Pho Restaurant

Pho TK1 Trinity Kitchen,
401 Trinity Leeds,
Albion Street,
Leeds
LS1 5AY

Telephone:
0113 245 6926

http://www.phocafe.co.uk

Pho on Urbanspoon

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