Saigon Pho

73A Nicholson St, Footscray
Phone: 9689 8806

You know, I place a lot of emphasis in my life these days about proximity. I like the idea of living (relatively) close to work, I am happy that I have markets, shops and restaurants all within a short stroll from my building, and the idea of heading to visit my parents across the other side of Melbourne can only be described as a sojourn. Is it laziness, or efficiency that causes this force of inertia within me? And within us all, I think? I think it’s a bit of both, and it’s something we should all try to overcome a little. Sure, eating and shopping locally are great things, but sometimes it works against us.

Take, for example, a simple (joyous) activity like sitting down for a hearty bowl of pho bo dac biet. Given that I live in Footscray, it’s not hard to find decent pho. With a little trial and error, you can find good pho. But the principle of proximity led me to mediocre pho. At Saigon Pho. Literally (by about half a block) the closest pho joint to my home.

Don’t get me wrong – if Saigon Pho were in the CBD, or in Fitzroy, it would be quite passable. But again, proximity weighs in. It’s half a block from Hien Vuong Pasteur, Hung Vuong, and about a block further away is Pho Chu The. So the availability of quality pho in the very proximal area creates an obligation for pho greatness. Up to which, unfortunately, Saigon Pho does not live.

The broth is rather one-dimensional, and that dimension is called MSG. It’s not particularly clear, either, which is odd, because that means there must have been some beef involved in the creation of the broth. The rare beef was good, as was the amount of offal (tripe, tendon) but the brisket was something of a dry let down. Not enough fat. Enough said? The noodles were quite good, but I could have dealt with a bit more in that department.

It’s not horribly bad pho. It’s just not that good. Which in Footscray, is not good enough. And that, my friends, is the rule of proximal pho.

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5 Replies to “Saigon Pho”

  1. Actually, how does MSG taste like? I can't tell accurately from dish to dish.

    Mmm pho would be so good for my throat right now.

  2. I was at the Lygon Street branch of this restaurant this afternoon and I have to agree with you. If this place was in Footscray, I wouldn’t say it’s that good. Given that it’s in Lygon Street, though, I would say that this is one of the better places to eat on that street.

    That said, my pho did have a bit too much MSG… 😐

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