Pho Dzung (City)
234 Russell Street
There are a few pho places aka Vietnamese noodle soup joints in the city, but the standouts for me thus far (am always excited to hear more recommendations) would have to be Mekong (on Swanston Street, just up from the corner of Little Bourke) and Pho Dzung on Russell Street (near the corner of Lonsdale).
Mekong, because I was first introduced to the wonders of the amazing fresh tasting pho at this fine establishment, and Pho Dzung because… it’s close to my work. I haven’t been to the Richmond sister shop, but I have been a few times to Pho Dzung, for the aforementioned reason. I’m a fan of most Asian noodle soups, ramen, etc., but I think the freshness of the ingredients in pho means it’s my number 1.
The first time I went, I visited late night with Mr Behemoth to introduce him to this amazing soup. We had the spring rolls and a small beef each. I also had a three colour drink. Since this was pre-blog and a while ago, let me just recall that on that occasion, the spring rolls were hot, fresh, crunchy and yummy; the pho was fine, and the three colour drink was a dessert and a drink all in one, just how I like ’em.
My most recent visit was with a friend from work. I forgot entirely about this new interest in food blogging as we noisily slurped down our soup, discussing the gossip from the recent office Christmas party (held at Fenix in the functions area, o fellow foodies) and my impending trip to Vietnam, where I plan to imbibe MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF PHO. Therefore, to my shame, I only have these photos to present when I remembered to whip out the ol’ phone cam (below).
We both ordered a small beef pho ($8.50). All in all, I’m not a pho connoisseur, but I found the broth a bit salty. Probably my fault though, cos I always add a squirt of hoisin. The noodles were good, elastic-y and and I enjoyed the availability of fresh chilli as well as those ubiquitous red chilli sauce squirt bottles and chilli oil. But – and there is a controversial but – I think I prefer the taste of Mekong, and you get your own plate of vietnamese mint ‘n’ bits to load up your soup there rather than having to politely share with your friend and not completely load up on mint and lemon as is my preference.
Service, as is usual with this kind of joint, is very much DIY other than begging for a small beef at the start. Oh and tea comes in a thermos, of course. Great for a work lunch. How can you go wrong? (Answer: you can go wrong only if you are wearing a white shirt/blouse.)
Other reviews of Pho Dzung’s City emporium you might like to read are Eat and Be Merry For Tomorrow We DIE(T), and mochii eats, with similar conclusions to me (good pho for the city, but you can get better elsewhere in suburban Melbourne); theworldlovesmelbourne, who loves it; and Miss Adriennely, who doesn’t rate the joint.