27 The Boulevard
Strathfield, NSW 2135
One thing I missed the most (food-wise) during lockdown was a fresh, piping-hot bowl of pho. Sure I got plenty of Vietnamese takeaway whilst we were banned from going out, but pho is just one of those things that’s really not the same if you’re not there to eat it within seconds of it hitting your table. That’s why, within days of lockdown ending, I was at VN City, ready for my pho fix.
In a suburb saturated with Korean food, VN City is one of the very few spots to get a Vietnamese feed. So it’s a relief that by all accounts, this place is a good one. They’re known for their signature crispy chicken, but you’ll find all the usual suspects on the menu and then a few more. Plus the clean, fresh interior certainly doesn’t hurt.
Coconut Juice ($5) is always refreshing, and whilst this one was pretty bog-standard, it certainly hit the spot.
Within minutes, my Pho Beef Combination ($16.5) had been whacked down onto the table, along with the obligatory plate of sprouts and basil. And you know what? This was pretty good! The soup was deliciously fragrant, and maybe a smidge too umami for me to believe that MSG wasn’t involved, but that’s not a negative in my books as MSG is not evil! There was also plenty of goodies hidden in the soup; my biggest pet peeve is when they give you one single piece of tendon and tripe each and call it a day. As for the noodles themselves, they were slightly thicker than your usual variety, but I actually liked the heartier mouthfeel that imparted. All in all, a very satisfying return to the world of pho.
I don’t usually stray too far from the pho and bún at Vietnamese restaurants, but far be it from me to pass on up their signature dish of Crispy Chicken, which we decided to have with Dry Thin Egg Noodles ($18).
I didn’t go in expecting terribly much, so I was doubly surprised by how good this was. The combination of succulent meat and paper-thin crispy skin is something I have yet to see outside of Peking duck, and with the option of having it with 2 types of rice or 6 types of noodles – in soup, or dry with a cracking chicken soup on the side – means that there’s something for everyone. I would recommend the dry thin egg noodles however; the bouncy, toothsome strands were not only a good accompaniment to the chook, but were delicious in their own right, tossed with a light soy-based sauce.
After such a long pho drought, I was glad VN City lived up to its reputation for good Vietnamese food. Everything we had on the day was fresh and well-made – definitely a step above those cheap and cheerful (but also undeniably dodgy) places I usually frequent. Even if this wasn’t one of the very few options near my place for Vietnamese, I can still see myself coming back when I want something light yet comforting.
Rating: 13/20 – cröispy chicken.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.