A work event had me working in Port Melbourne for the day. This was quite exciting because my usual office only has two people (including me!) while the Port Melbourne office has about 6 people working there. Sure, it’s not much, but it’s more people to talk to and a bigger sense of ‘community’ if you know what I mean.
Anyway, the other exciting part about working in a new location is the new eateries in the Port Melbourne area! Should I look around in South Melbourne, and perhaps visit the Brasserie Bakery, or should I check out the fare on Bay Street near the beach? Nope – cravings say we’re going to Footscray for pho!
After a short drive on Citylink and past the docks with the massive towers of containers, I found the tightly packed shopping district of Footscray and miraculously found a parking spot that had already been paid for. I had 53 minutes to find and eat pho.
I looked for the tackiest place and found Hien Vuong with neon signs in the window, gross 90s furniture and Vietnamese art on the walls. Upon entry, my senses were besieged by an incredible, wholesome and warming fragrance that could only be the essence of their pho. I felt that I had come to the right place.
There were only two other tables taken in the place so there was no issue finding a spot to sit. The waitress brought over a fresh canister of tea and said, “are you ready to order?” I was taken aback because I hadn’t seen the menu yet! Did I look like a pho pro?!
She stepped aside and gestured towards the wall. There was a long white panel for all to see that included pho, rice dishes and drinks. I stick with my standard Beef and Brisket Pho Ba thank you very much.
It arrived super fast smelling amazing, with a rich colour that I hadn’t seen in any previous phos. The pho ritual began with the application of lemon juice, bean shoots, chilli and herbs, then a quick stir before the first mouthful.
All I can say is ‘WOW’… what a luxuriant and deep flavour! It was spectacular and I was shocked at how quickly it was consumed. The noodles were soft and silky, the beef was juicy and the broth soothed and cuddled my belly from the inside. I was in heaven… until I got back to the office.
After lunch I found the car, drove back to Port Melbourne and sat down to do some work before I developed an insatiable thirst. It didn’t matter how much water I drank, I was thirsty. Then my head felt like it had a big rubber band around it that was really tight. I felt like Monkey when Tripitaka was chanting the headache sutra! Could it be possible that this delicious pho I had just consumed was riddled with MSG? Devastation…
I’m not going to tell you to not go to Hien Vuong – the service was pleasant and the soup was delicious – but if you get really bad side effects from MSG, I’d steer clear.