The Pho Gia Hoi empire has spread it's love over to Eastwood so we head in for some soup rehydration therapy.
[Revisted February 2014]
We have headed over to Eastwood after hunting for books on a 30 plus degree day. We figured it was easier to be out and about than stuck at home whining about the heat and we could get a lunch in as well. Our first plan was for ramen but then we spied this newish opening and all thoughts turned to other types of noodle soup, a hearty ramen just wasn't going to cut it.
We are big fans of the city store and it's big bowls of refreshing pho, bun bo hue and their crab and fish cake udon soups. Their table condiments are some of the best you'll find, including a house made sambal of pounded chilli and lemongrass as well as the usual pickled ground chili, soy, hoisin and chili sauce.
Orange and egg yolk milk soda - about $3.50. It kind of tasted of sweetened, orangey milk, fun to try but not 'wow'. The plain egg soda is often better.
Bun Bo Hue - $11. Hot and spicy pork and with rice vermicelli noodle soup. The blood cubes in this soup aren't as palate testing as others, they are a mild flavour and the texture is similar to a hard tofu. The main chilli flavour sits along the top of the soup travelling in little spice islands of oil.
The plate of soup fixin's is a most generous one, piled high with bean sprouts and basil and underneath loads of shredded cabbage, lemon slices, mint and lettuce. Add as your heart desires.
Banh canh cua do bien -crab meat, fish cake and udon soup - $12. Mr Shawn has become obsessed with this soup after trying it a couple of times at Pho Gia Hoi's city store, it's one of his favourite soups in town. The soup is thick and gluggy at the start but thins out as you eat it, it has a mild crabby flavour and the thick, clear udon style noodles are superb: filling and flavour soaking. A huge bowl of happiness, served with the usual fixin's.
[BACK AGAIN FEBRUARY 2014]
Lunch with friends in Eastwood on a steamy humid Sydney day. What better than some steamy bowls of soup? The place was packed even late on a Saturday afternoon, there was a small wait for a table.
Both pals picked the Bun Bo Hue. There was some intrigue over the blood cake in the soup, to eat or not to eat was the question. After some gentle persuasion the bite was made and it was declared good. Blood cake or blood tofu is a tasty treat, if you haven't tried it go for it. It doesn't taste too offally or liverish or kidneyish if that is your fear, more like a little salty jelly.
Salad fixin's that go into the soup. This is one of our favourite parts, we finished the lot off.
Hu Tieu, served dry with egg noodles (you can also choose rice noodles). This is a soup from southern Vietnam that has Chinese influence and traditionally doesn't use any fish sauce. It's a hodge podge of different meats, including offal, prawns, fish cake, sliced meats and squid, and lots of sliced green shallots and crunchy dried garlic. Mix it all together with a squirt of thick soy and add chilli flavours to taste, just as you would self season most of these dishes.
Having your soup dry (the soup liquid is served on the side in a little bowl) works well with a dish like this that comprises a lot of small different tastes. If it was in a soup it would all get lost as parts of the broth, here you can enjoy each bite on it's own merit.
Pho Gia Hoi Eastwood is at 219 Rowe Street Eastwood. They seem to still be having a 20% off sale for their grand opening even though it was some time ago. Drinks not included.
View Larger Map