The Mountbatten Hotel is an unlikely home for some of Sydney’s best and oldest Vietnamese food, but sometimes venues are surprising.
Enter and you’ll be met with the warm smile of owner Phuoc “Phillip” Hoang, the legendary chef who brought Vietnamese food to Surry Hills in 1985 and then made his name in Bankstown serving the cuisine of Saigon. Hoang’s skills encompass dishes that were served to the king, but his simple pho makes an ideal lunch.
“The basis of pho is how the soup is made,” Hoang says. “The way you cook it over the fire, the bones, the herbs. It takes eight hours minimum. Everyone makes it different, but they’re all nice.”
Hoang recommends the basic beef pho and it’s best to opt for the rare, rather than cooked, beef. It’s meltingly tender and cooks slowly in the hot broth. Although the dish comes with the usual accoutrements – hoisin, Sriracha sauce, the strong sauces would overwhelm the delicate, aromatic soup and they’re best left on the side as an occasional dip for the meat.
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