Ma and pa pho with sweet distinction
One of the prettiest bowls in town, where the flower adorned bowl and tai (uncooked meat) seem to blend into one gastronomic piece of art. It’s distinctive tasting too, sweet and fragrant’; southern pho with a touch of central region influence.
We want to serve pho as if it was made at home
It’s a family affair, mum, Lanh Nguyen is in the kitchen, dad, Hen Le is front of house and son, Michael Le is there too if you need someone who speaks English. Since arriving to Australia in 1987, Lanh has always worked in in the kitchen of local restaurants. One of these was Pho Bac Hai Duong, where Lanh worked as a cook 14 years ago. Eventually they bought over the business and, in 2011, renovated the Illawara Road shop, renaming it phd.
what’s the secret of phd’s profound broth?
The family is from Hue, central Vietnam and while the pho is southern-style, according to Michael, the broth’s sweet zing is a Hue influence. “It’s a little sweeter because of the longer simmering which brings out more sweetness from the generous bones and marrow in the pot” he says. According to Michael, the pot is always simmering, the heat is never turned off, just turned right down overnight. Grilled garlic, onion and ginger contribute another layer of fragrant sweetness.
“We want to serve pho as if it was made at home” he grins and adds that the addition of cracked pepper is all about making it taste and look even more home-made. The prominence of cracked pepper is unique to phd, noodlies, Sydney food blog hasn’t experienced it anywhere else.
The best pho in Sydney?
Like religion and politics, debate about the best pho always leads to controversy. Heck, there’s even vigorous argument on whether pho in Australia is actually better than pho in Vietnam. I’m a fan, a huge fan. This red palace tribute to pho is right up there in my books.
Oh, just to confuse things they have two pho shops; this one, phd, which is also the first branch, and a larger one around the corner on Marrickville Road called pho phd. According to Michael, the newer branch “has bigger seating capacity. With city views, it has more of a dining ambiance” but rest assured he says “the menu items and prices are almost the same”. He might be right, but I’d still prefer the original phd.
30 Illawarra Road, Marrickville
Ph: 9559 5078
260 Marrickville Road, Marrickville
Ph: 9090 2869