Pho : Vietnamese Street Food
1 Wheeler Street. Cambridge, CB2 3QB
Right in the heart of Cambridge is a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. There are clothing shops and restaurants galore, not to mention the prestigious University of Cambridge. I found myself joining new friends in a nice hole in the wall type restaurant named Pho a Vietnamese street food restaurant. And if you hadn’t guessed by the name, the serve Pho (pronounced fuh). It was down to the bones chilly for this southern belle so a nice big warm bowl of Pho was perfect. Pho which is the national dish for Vietnam is a big rice noodle soup with herbs and meat (if you choose). I love soup but I’m no pro at making pho, it is almost an art to get that much flavor packed into a broth. 12 hours of making broth is more than I can usually dedicate unless a crockpot is involved. I did give it a shot once and it turned out amazing. You can see my rendition of Homemade Pho by clicking the link. Now enough about me..let’s get this meal started.
I started with what I thought would be a small appetizer. Turns out this portion was extremely filling. I ordered the New Nuong because there was one ingredient that caught my eye – lemongrass. The nem nuong dish is homemade pork and lemongrass meatballs served with lettuce and herbs to wrap and dip and a side of peanut sauce. As I’m typing this, I realize I ate them wrong lol. I never wrapped them in the lettuce or used the mint. I only dipped them in the peanut sauce. Perhaps it would have had an effect on the flavor, perhaps not. What I was really missing was the lemongrass flavor. I kept waiting for it to hit me and it never did. The meatballs were fried and were a little dry for my liking but that’s the chance you run with pork I suppose. The peanut sauce was amazing, it has a slight sweetness to it that complemented the peanut flavor very well. If you are wondering should you order this or would I order it again…well yes. They weren’t horrible just lacking on the lemongrass flavor a bit and slightly dry. As a home cook, I understand that each batch will turn out slightly different so next time they could be really moist and full of lemongrass flavor.
The second appetizer we ordered were some summer rolls. They were very simple rolls made with herbs, vermicelli and pickle served with a side of peanut sauce and your choice of chicken, prawns or vegetables. Personally they were mediocre at best. I’ve had better summer rolls but perhaps that is just the additional sauces that I used. Unless you love summer or spring rolls, I’d go with a different appetizer.
Pho Bo Combo
Dinner was much stronger than the appetizers. My Pho was warm and delicious. Pricing was generous here which you don’t always see so I decided to get the most for my money. I got meatballs, steak and brisket. I also added enoki, shiitake and button mushrooms because I love mushrooms! I added a few bean sprouts, cilantro and culantro to my pho then topped it off with a squeeze of lime juice, sriracha and hoisin sauce…YUM! I was given a huge ladle and some chop sticks to eat with. Since the Pho is served with long rice noodles, things got a little messy but I didn’t mind. This was my first time trying pho with meatballs, the size of their meatballs is crazy. It took me two to three bites to finish each one. I thoroughly enjoyed my pho and I recommend you try it when you visit. And quite frankly, if your name is Pho and you serve pho, your pho better be off the pho-king chain lol. Honestly it was great and I would get it again and again and again.
Ca-ri which translates into curry I suppose was what my husband ordered. He has been on a bowl kick as of late so this was the closest thing to a bowl they had. Boy did he hit the lottery with this dish. This picture isn’t the best and it most certainly does not do this dish any justice what so ever. My husband said this is the best curry he’s ever had in his life. Sad face, I guess mine just got replaced lol. Seriously, this curry is freaking amazing. The flavors literally burst in your mouth. He was stingy so I only got one big spoonful but it was the best spoonful of curry I have probably ever had. Throne officially handed over…for now. I am determined to figure out how they packed in so much flavor. The menu doesn’t offer much of a description other than it is a Vietnamese curry with vegetables and mushrooms, topped with nuts and served with broken rice. My next visit I will be ordering this dish and I suggest you do too.
With 25 locations throughout the UK, finding a Pho restaurant shouldn’t be too hard. You can dine in or order out either way I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. If you’d like a peek at their full menu the link is here. They offer a vegan, gluten free and kids menu. I love a restaurant with multiple options, especially ones for kids. Go out and give Pho a visit soon.