Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar (Rotterdam, Netherlands): All the Vietnamese Food You Crave

THE STORY

On my sixth visit to Pho Restaurant and Noodle Bar, I thought to myself

Did I like the Bun Bo Hue? Was it spicy enough?

So I visited this blog - my blog - to remember, and I realized that I hadn’t written a review for it.

I’ve been here countless times since, and I’m only just now getting around to it! Lately I’ve been spending more time working on my freelancing business and cooking at home, so my Asian restaurant adventures aren’t as frequent.

Pho Vietnamese Restaurant Noodle Bar Rotterdam Netherlands bun bo hue soup

Considering, however, that Pho Restaurant and Noodle Bar is my go-to restaurant to scratch my Vietnamese food craving, it is long overdue for a review.

The restaurant seems small at first, but it can easily seat 40 to 50 people. The inside is vibrant but still gezellig (cozy), and while you may want a reservation for a Friday or Saturday night, you won’t usually need one.

Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar offers almost everything I miss about Vietnamese food (I’m still looking for a restaurant that offers tendon in their pho).

Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar Rotterdam Netherlands soup

THE REVIEW

First, the bun bo hue. The first time I went, I was overwhelmed by the number of options I had, though I knew I wanted noodle soup. The Ramen Marauder ordered the pho, so I ordered the bun bo hue.

I would describe the spicy level as refreshing: it wasn’t so spicy that I couldn’t enjoy it, but it also wasn’t so underwhelming that I questioned whether they even added any spice to it. The portion was more generous that most Vietnamese restaurants we’ve seen in Europe.

The Ramen Marauder was particularly excited about his pho with everything. Not only was it a large portion, but Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar also puts hoisin on their tables - another uncommon finding in Europe.

I also had the pho on another visit, and it was quite satisfying. This is a good pho for anyone who hasn’t tried it before. The broth is flavorful but not overly spiced, and the noodle/toppings/broth ratio is superb. Whenever I go with people who aren’t as familiar with Vietnamese food, and they order the pho, they finish it.

Pho Vietnamese Restaurant Noodle Bar Rotterdam Netherlands bun bo xao vermicelli

I have also enjoyed the bun bo xao: vermicelli noodles with stir-fried beef, vegetables, and herbs. This is a delicious alternative to noodle soup that is just as filling. As someone with a peanut allergy, I’ve ordered it without peanuts and had no problems.

Whether you’re craving Vietnamese food right now or are simply curious, you will find something to enjoy at Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar. Unless you’re a total snob about your Vietnamese food experience, in which case, this is not the place for you (my blog or the restaurant).


Pho Vietnamese Restaurant and Noodle Bar, West-Kruiskade 1-A, 3014 AJ Rotterdam, Nederland, +31 10 3070387

Umamido (Brussels, Belgium): Big Ramen Bowls in a Small Space

THE STORY

As usual, my day centered around visiting this ramen spot, which opened at noon. This meant I had time to have coffee and a bite beforehand.

I decided to visit a Portuguese bakery (because why not?) within a healthy walk’s distance from Umamido. This way I could have my coffee and small breakfast bite a couple hours before destroying a bowl of ramen.

While walking to Umamido, however, I decided to eat a pastel de nata I had purchased to go.

Rookie mistake.

I didn’t need the pastel de nata. I just wanted it.

Umamido Ramen Restaurant Flagey Brussels Belgium Asian Japanese Noodle Soup

When you go out for ramen, it’s good practice to show up hungry. Of course, this can be dangerous if you’re also walking the thin line between appropriately hungry and hangry.

When I finally arrived at Umamido, I worried that I wasn’t hungry enough. But it seemed too late for another walk around the block.

Umamido Flagey Brussels Belgium sign graphic design

Umamido has five or six 2-top tables inside, and maybe four seats at the bar. The space is so intimate that I couldn’t get into my seat without brushing against the table next to me. There’s just the chef and the waiter - any more than that and it’d be a crowd.

THE REVIEW

I had the Ramen of the Chef, which is described as “The ultimate ramen, spicy, fatty, salty, totally Umamido, the bowl that feeds the soul.” This description is not wrong.

This was a bowl of ramen unlike any other I’d ever had.

Ramen of the Chef Umamido Restaurant Flagey Brussels Belgium Asian Japanese Noodle Soup

What was most intimidating was the bacon, if that’s what you would call it. Just one look at these two slabs of crispy, meaty pork and I knew I was doomed. There was no way I could finish this bowl.

But I happily accepted the challenge.

And instead of corn, there were green peas. While not as sugary sweet as corn kernels, they still added a refreshing flavor and texture. The raw red onion and rocket were also a wonderful surprise.

With the added pinch of kimchi, this ramen was spicier than I expected. But that’s what beer is for.

I recommend this spot for ramen lovers both new and veteran. It’s not a traditional or typical ramen joint, but you’re also not a traditional or typical traveler if you’re seeking ramen in Brussels.


Umamido Flagey (there are seven locations, one food truck, and no reservations), Chaussee de Vleurgat 1, 1050 Elsene, Ixelles, Belgium

Tai Wu (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Great Dim Sum That Doesn't Require Reservations

THE STORY

You may be wondering “‘Doesn’t require reservations?’ What dim sum place does?”

The one I tried to go to before going to Tai Wu. That restaurant.

It was my birthday. I had been planning to get dim sum on my birthday for weeks. Generally, the way it works is that you get up and out the door by 10 a.m. on a Saturday in order to beat the rush. First come, first serve.

Tai Wu Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Holland asian food travel craving

There have been multiple occasions when I end up hangry by the time I arrive at the dim sum restaurant, only to wait another 30 minutes for a table. It’s just an accepted reality of dim sum: you eat nothing so that you can wait for an unknown amount of time to then stuff your face with dumplings. Regardless of where you are, these rules hold true.

Or so I thought.

We arrived at the dim sum restaurant, and they asked if we had a reservation. At first, I thought “Is he speaking to me in Dutch? Because I don’t think I understood his question.” But he then repeated himself and yes, he was confirming whether I made a reservation.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands dumplings haam sui gau wu gok asian craving travel

After telling him we did not have a reservation, he said that he could not seat us. In my hangry state, I muttered something snide and proceeded to leave.

I had previously marked Tai Wu as another restaurant to try, and so we went, hoping they would let us sit without a reservation. To our delight, they sat us immediately.

Tai Wu has a few dozen tables for various-sized parties, but most are large enough to fit a lazy Susan in the center. And while no one was carting around trolleys of dumplings (which is no longer commonplace in dim sum restaurants), there a luxurious chandelier hanging from the high ceiling.

By this point, I was ravenous.

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

When restaurants still pushed dumpling carts around the tables, it was easier to pace myself. I had to wait patiently for the dumplings I wanted. Now, however, I can order all of them at once, which usually leads to a combination of shameful overeating and a waste of food.

Maybe this article will serve as a reminder to my future self not to order so much. But probably not.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands chicken feet lo baak gou asian craving travel

THE REVIEW

When ordering dim sum from a menu, usually the options are limited. Not at Tai Wu! They had everything I wanted: siu mai, har gao, chicken feet, fried taro, those glutinous rice balls filled with ground meat, baos, turnip cakes…it was a joy.

If you wake up craving dim sum on a Saturday morning, bring your appetite to Tai Wu.


Tai Wu, Mauritsweg 24-26, 3012 JR Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 (0)10 433 0818