A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Vietnam. It is a stunningly beautiful country, from the mysterious islands of Halong Bay, to the booming cosmopolitan city of Ho Chi Minh. The food was very different from what I was used to, from the Cao Lầu speciality in Hoi An, to the 24 hour noodles shops in Ho Chi Minh. On my return to Dublin I searched for authentic Vietnamese restaurants only to discover that Dublin didn't really have any. The only ones that I could find that even came close were Saba and Diep but these places tend to focus more on the Thai food. Then Neon opened up in 2012 where I could get my fix of Vietnamese Pho Soup but it was only served with beef and no other choices. Then I discovered Pho Viet which is a haven of Vietnamese food!
Pho Viet is located on Parnell Street, just a few seconds from the top of O'Connell Street. It is a lovely bright restaurant with a very clean modern look to it. The menu has a good range of options for both starters and mains. I visited Pho Viet a good few times last year but it's only now that I am getting around to sharing it with you! On our latest visit we both started with the Cha Gio which are the Vietnamese Spring Rolls. Sometimes you just want fried food and these hit the spot. Dipped in the sweet chilli sauce they were crispy bites full of flavour.
For his main the boyfriend decided to go for the Banh xeo which is a Vietnamese pancake. It is a mixture of prawn, pork, bean sprouts and onion folded in rice flour and pan fried. It is an unusual dish and the boyfriend was a bit worried that it wouldn't be enough to fill him up. As you can see from the photo though it was more than enough!
For my main I ordered the Pho Ga or Chicken noodle soup which was a big bowl of warming chickeny goodness. The waiter also pointed out two sauces on the table which were hoisin and sweet chilli and said that I could mix them into the broth to give it a stronger flavour. I added some hoisin sauce to my broth and it did help to intensify the flavour. The soup also came with beansprouts and chillis which you can add or leave out as you wish. There is something very comforting about a big bowl of warm steamy soup and it is a joy to eat as you slurp your way through it!
If Pho or pancakes aren't your thing then there are lots of other choices with Bun - rice vermicelli dishes, Com - rice plates and Ca Ri which are curries. The other great thing about Pho Viet is the price. Our two starters and two mains came to an even €25. It's also BYOB so even in this lean month of January there is no need to stop eating out!
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