447 High Street
Preston, VIC 3072
I have a really awful habit. Because I live so far away from work, I usually have breakfast at about 6:30am in order to make it to work by 8:15am. Now in that 7 hour no-man’s land between breakfast and lunch, I tend to get really, really hungry. After all, working in a hospital usually means a whole lot of running around. A snack for those times is all well and good, except in reality, what ends up happening is that I start thinking about the pho I will be, or could be having for dinner. So by the time 5pm rolls around, I am practically frothing at the mouth for pho.
I had tried to have dinner at Pho Hung a month or two back, but they were unfortunately closed for Chinese New Year. Not to be deterred, I eventually made my way back to this cheap and cheerful eatery, and all of its 337 menu items.
Pho was, of course, on menu. In fact, there were so many people ordering it that half a dozen bowls came out from the kitchen at a time, wheeled on a trolley. My go-to order is the Special Beef Pho ($9, small), with its clear, sweet soup and all the trimmings. The noodles were a bit softer than I personally like, and I prefer a bigger handful of sprouts on the side, but it was made up for by its freshness and quality. The beef sausage was especially good – studded with peppercorns and fall-apart tender.
For the first time in possibly ever, Chris had no shortage of other dishes to choose from whilst I inhaled my pho. He decided on the Braised Combination with Vegetables on Rice ($12.5) – a rather vaguely named dish that turned out to be a simple stir-fry of seasonal vegetables, meat, and seafood in soy-based gravy. The mix of crispy veggies and tender pieces of beef and chicken – there was even a couple of large prawns – was satisfyingly saucy and savoury, making for a complete meal all piled onto one plate.
When it comes down to it, Pho Hung is more or less interchangeable with the dime-a-dozen Vietnamese-Chinese restaurants you find scattered across Melbourne. I did find the quality of the ingredients to be somewhat better than what I’ve come to expect, but it also meant that our meal cost a dollar or two above average. You know what? When it comes down to choosing, you may as well flip a coin.
Rating: 12.5/20 – coin toss.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.