vermicelli

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

Asian Cuisine: How Well do you Know Yourself?

JUST A STORY

The Ramen Marauder and I sat down for dinner the other night for a simple vermicelli noodle salad I made. I chopped the lettuce, poached the noodles, seasoned the ground pork with ground pepper, ginger, and garlic, and cooked it with a short mixture of fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, and garlic oil - just enough to prevent it from tasting plain, but adding no significant flavor.

I assembled our bowls with lettuce, noodles, and ground pork. The rest was laid out on the table: chopped cucumbers, chopped carrots, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, lime slices, fish sauce, hoisin, sriracha, sesame oil, cashews. As we both finished dressing our dinner bowls, I realized that this process must seem intimidating to anyone who isn't familiar with Vietnamese food.

Vietnamese Vermicelli Noodle Salad Asian Food Cooking

How many people really know what they like? I mean, really understand what they like, from sweet to salty to sour to funk? Asian food requires a sense of self that not everyone has. It can be taught, sure, but it's not something many restaurants take the time to teach, right?

Most western cuisines cook complete dishes and serve the food as it should be eaten. Any self-proclaimed food expert will tell you that you won't find salt and pepper on tables at nice restaurants because the chef has already seasoned the dish, and you're expected to eat it accordingly.

But what about Asian restaurants?

To start, so many westerners don't have the taste bud vocabulary to comprehend everything that Asian food offers. The most adventurous ingredient I've found in European cookbooks is anchovies in order to add a hint of salt and a suggestion of umami. This may be why we see chicken at Asian restaurants fried to a point beyond recognition, then slathered in a sauce that has no business being the focal point of a dinner entree. Or why Chinese cuisine looks so different from country to country, incorporating the local palette into the recipes. Maybe it's why Thai restaurants seem to lack variation, offering the same yellow, red, and green curries with your choice of protein.

Asian Food Cooking Vermicelli Noodle Salad Vietnamese

These cuisines are not simple. It would appear that restaurants assume the consumer is simple - but can you blame them? It seems that those who can't (or won't) enjoy Asian food don't have the culinary confidence to appreciate it, and restaurants don't usually have the time to teach consumers how to eat it. Asian cuisine displays a sense of otherness that many people are afraid to approach.

But the real twist here is that Asian food can be yours. It is yours. Asian restaurants create the foundation of your meal, but you are in charge. You are given the tools to make your meal great - maybe you just need to learn how to use them.


Is this something you want me to write more about? Do you have any requests or suggestions? Let me know in the comments!