Viet Hoa with Wifey
Mondays … need I say more? For Erin it is particularly tough as she was to get up at 4:50AM to work out before heading off to work. She’s usually not feeling 100% when she gets home from work so Mondays are the days I make sure she feels super loved. Today was no exception. When she got home from work, I decided to take her out to our favourite place for pho – Viet Hoa.
A bit of backstory about this place, Erin and I actually visited this place on the second day of our marriage before we headed off to our honeymoon. My family took me here when I was younger quite frequently and so the place has a special significance to us. Every visit is a trip down memory lane of all the great times in the past.
We got there for 6:00PM and luckily beat the crowd. Usually by 6:30PM the place is starting to fill up very quickly making it almost impossible to have a conversation. We were greeted by the usual “Please wait to be Seated” sign but were promptly seated by the window within seconds of our arrival.
One thing that always struck me was their selection of sauces and condiments on every table. The small tray was filled with hoisin sauce, chilli sauce, fish sauce (in a Kikkoman soy sauce jug), sugar, pepper, American mustard and salt. To my amusement they spelt fish sauce as “fish sause”.
When I take photos Erin usually let’s me do my thing. I find myself extremely blessed as most partners of photographers usually don’t put up with the camera taking up their man’s attention in their place. So I decided to play with the motion panorama feature of the X100 and get Erin in the shot.
By this point we had already ordered our food. Erin had ordered the Combination Laksa ($12.50) while I ordered my usual Seafood Ho Fan Noodle Soup ($12.50). Service is far from tentative, but you don’t come here for the service. This place is all about the food.
Erin’s laksa came out first which was quickly followed by my noodles. While I can’t comment on the laksa, I definitely have plenty to share about my seafood ho fan.
The noodles arrived in their usual massive bowl with plenty of broth to slurp down later. I usually eat my noodles with fresh bean shoots and mint which the waitress was more than happy to provide for me (at no extra charge).
One thing that was missing since our last visit just over a year ago, was the fried shrimp cracker topping that usually came with the noodles. This was one of my favourite parts of the meal and I had so many fond memories of eating it after it had soaked up some of the delicious broth. Times have changed I suppose. I dumped my bean shoots into the bowl with some torn mint and got ready to dive right in.
The noodles were soft and chewy, just how I like them while the broth was refreshing as ever. One thing to note about the dish is that there seemed to be less noodles than in previous times. If I had to give a percentage, I would say almost 20% decrease in noodles since last year. Luckily they weren’t as stingy with the bean shoots. Also the seafood was lacking but I was glad to see they had deveined the prawns before cooking them.
One of the benefits of brining Erin out to have noodles is the entertainment value. Erin is by no means lacking in skills with chopsticks, but the way she uses them always gives me a laugh. Especially considering we were eating out. Usually I am the one that would be doing something silly. She insisted that she lifted the noodles out of the bowl so she could place them into spoon before proceeding to eat from said spoon. The splatter from this exercise was also considerable.
It didn’t take long for us to finish our meals. While the service isn’t terrible, it is far from friendly. The waitresses however are very quick and competent. It was disappointing to see the serving sizes decrease as well as the omission of the fried shrimp cracker, but all in all the taste that I grew up loving was still there. Next time I will be sure to ask for extra noodles and see if they have any of the shrimp crackers for the garnish. Erin thoroughly enjoyed her laksa but I can’t really comment any more than that.
If you’re looking for some tasty pho that is reasonably priced, look no further. Don’t come with the expectation that your waitress will be your best friend, just expect them to be quick and attentive. Also, make sure you get there early as by the time we left at 6:30PM, it was already getting full and noisy.