Ok, we’re going to come out and say it despite knowing the weight which such a claim carries – the best Pho in Vienna is being served up at this Vietnamese family noodle house, Nguyen’s Pho House.
With competition in the humble national dish of Vietnam lacking in this city, Pho fangirls and fanboys have descended on this place like a bunch of really hungry, slurping ninjas (because ninjas are cool).
For those of you not familiar with the fad of Pho, this beef noodle soup, infused with basil, cloves and ginger, accompanied by extra bean sprouts, a spicy sauce, Hoisin (sweet and salty sauce), coriander and a wedge of lemon, make for a terrifically satisfying welter of flavours. There’s also chicken and vegetarian variations.
The chopstick to fork ratio is strongly in favour of the chopsticks here, which is a good omen. If the diners aren’t poking and twitching their chopsticks into steaming noodle broths, they’re using them to crane the other – just as good – Vietnamese mains, like the Bo Kho (beef stew), Banh Xeo (Vietnamese pancake) or the dishes for the timid tastebuds, like the Pho Xao (stir-fry noodles with beef) and the others on the long tasty list of rice and noodle dishes, alongside the 7 different types of noodle soups. We dare you to try to pronounce the names of the dishes out loud. Better yet, we dare you to make a rap out of them.
For starters – which we suggest you consider seriously – there’s crunchy spring rolls or the summer rolls, a mix of rice noodles, shrimp, pork, lettuce and herbs, rolled in thin rice paper paired with a peanut sauce. You can even roll your own rice rolls (Tu Cuon) if you want the DIY experience. The papaya and mango salad exemplify the Vietnamese kitchen’s play with contrasting colours and flavours.
Without any advertising ever since this eatery opened in 2013, its furniture that looks like it could be used in a real life Tetris game is full and the open kitchen is churning out fresh, light dishes at lunch and dinner. And according to Anna Nguyen and her husband Nghi, it all comes down to the heart they put into it … not literally, but you know what we mean.
“We cook the dishes we love from home and we cook them with plenty of heart. Nghi is here at 7am every morning to prepare the Pho as he just loves cooking.”
The drink selection reflects the young, hip urbanites who love lapping at Pho, with Fritz Cola and the Hamburg beer Astra to suck down on.
And anybody that’s ever been to Vietnam and possesses a sweet tooth paired with a coffee addiction, will be happy to know that the anticipation of the Ca phe da (Vietnamese style filtered coffee with sweet condensed milk) drip can be experienced here. And if you have no idea what we’re talking about and you truly want to become a fully fledged ninja, that’s so quick you could have already been to Nguyen Pho House and eaten two Pho soups by the end of this article, learn the dark (more sweet than dark, actually) arts of Vietnamese coffee.