There was a love-hate relationship between me and chicken soup. In Poland it’s called rosół and most people cook it every weekend, they serve it on almost every wedding or other celebration dinners and feed you with litres of it when you’re sick. When you’re forced to eat something so often, it not hard to start hating it. And overall, it’s nothing special – just a salty broth with fine pasta, garnished with parsley.
But after a longer break from rosół, I started to miss it and even like it. Having some spare time during weekends, I cooked it a few times myself.
Probably if I wasn’t craving it so badly one day, when I didn’t have time to cook, I would’ve never discovered my newest and greatest love – Pho.
Our apartment is 5 minutes walk from the Chinatown, but until December last year we didn’t consider it as our go-to food destination. Mostly because we know so little about Asian food. One evening we wandered there for the famous, yet never tasted by us before, pho.
The Vietnamese had quite a lot of good reviews, so trusting them, we picked that place for our first time. Not sure what to expect, we entered the restaurant just to see it packed with people. Unfortunately for us, the only free table was right next to the entrance, so we had people coming in and out every minute. We also quickly discovered there is one more floor, which is also usually full of people.
The decor… Let’s say it’s not pretty. Well, not even inviting, but no one seems to care.
Small tables, worn out menus and tap water is what you get for a start. Despite having so many clients, waiters seem to have no trouble taking orders and managing everything. Our order came fast, piping hot and enormously big. Soups in The Vietnamese are in two sizes – small (read: generous) and large (read: enormous).
Since our first visit we managed to go back there quite a few times, and I think we’ve tried every single soup on the menu – chicken, beef, bbq pork, spicy (hot!!) curry and combination. Most of the small ones are $9 and large $10 which makes it to a really affordable feast.
The stock is very fragrant, topped with fresh and crisped onion and packed with noodles, meet and herbs. A few times we also gave dessert a try – Banana fritter and ice cream ($6). It was very sweet and sinful, not something I would like to eat too often. And I couldn’t understand why the sweet dessert was decorated with parsley…
Overall – soups are cheap and good and I can understand why so many people come there. The Vietnamese became my place for cheap-fast-good comforting soup. What I didn’t enjoy every time I was there, was the noise. The restaurant has really bad acoustic and all conversations mix into one wall of noise. It’s really hard to enjoy food and the company in there.
– 2 small soups = $18, if you want to pay with card your bill has to be at least $20, it’s better to carry some cash
– If you’re a chopstick beginner like I am, do not order the flat noodles, you’ll be in trouble…and hungry