Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Pho at Mekong

Pho Bo Gai Mekong
241 Swanston Street, Melbourne (map)
9663 3288

Praise the Lord for pho! It's filling and makes your tastebuds tango, yet tastes clean and refreshing. It's brilliant at getting rid of a hangover or a cold. Plus it's generally pretty healthy and CHEAP like the budgie! What other dish can compete??

When I went to Hanoi last year I had tons of the stuff. Here in Melbourne (itself home to some damn fine pho, according to this Hanoi food blogger), when the pho craving hits in the CBD, I tend to go to good ol' Mekong on Swanston.

Pho at Mekong

The yellow sign in the modest shopfront window reads "President Clinton had 2 bowls. How many can you have...". Far too many tables are crammed into the shabby interior and the staff tend to give you fairly short shrift, but that doesn't deter the punters. At these prices ($7 for a bowl that will easily leave you patting your tummy with contentment) and with pho so tasty, it's no wonder.

Does anyone know whether Bill actually ate at this particular venue?!

Sauces on pho at Mekong

Yes, I rather like to slather my pho bo (beef pho) with sauces before the tearing of the Vietnamese mint and the sprinkling of bean shoots.

Closeup of pho at Mekong


By the way, for those in the vicinity of Swan Street Richmond, I'd like to plug the Vietnamese restaurant Love Pho that just opened on Saturday a few doors down from Flavours of Lakhoum. I wandered in there on Saturday afternoon to pick up the take away menu, and the staff were extremely sweet and friendly and nervous about their opening day. The site once housed a very good suburban Indian restaurant called Swami that closed, so I'm hoping that locals will give this place a chance instead of automatically heading up to Victoria Street. I'll review their pho soon!


Cindy said...

Sorry to go on a tangent, mutemonkey, but did you notice whether Flavours of Lakhoum was actually open? I recently heard that it has closed but haven't gone by to check for myself.

claire said...

Happy to go on a tangent, cindy! Flavours of Lakhoum was indeed alive and kicking...

Precious Pea said...

Oh my, i get so sentimental when i read your post on Mekong...used to frequent this place at least once a week during my uni days. Just yesterday, i recommended a friend who is now holidaying in Melb to try the Pho at Mekong. Sniff sniff..i wish for a bowl right now.

IronEaters said...

This place is popular in the city, isnt it. but i found that Melb. Viet. Noodle House's pho about the same as Mekong...the only diff is MVNH giv u more ingredients. but having said tt, Mekong's pho is rather good =)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ironeaters – I've heard you say that before – but I'm sorry, Mekong I far better than MVNK!

Thanks Mutemonkey for the lovepho tip. Will be heading there.

By the way last time I went to Thu The, I discovered they serve Hanoi Style pho. I had a bowl, it was good.

crushedguava said...

i never knew that there's different versions of pho?

but everytime i go to any vietnamese restaurants i tend to order their grilled chicken with rice.

jfox said...

oh, i can actually be of use! ;D
i know someone in the know - clinton did indeed visit mekong. there's prolly a pic up in the restaurant somewhere as proof (i must confess i normally look at the pics of jackie chan and samo hung - his flicks were childhood favourites).
mmm, now i have pho cravings..

claire said...

Thanks for remembering mt hankering for Hanoi-style pho, noodleoodle! Looks good, I'll go check it out next time I'm in the 'hood... :)

Thanks for the info, jfox! I wonder when it was that Clinton visited them? When I went up to Port Douglas a few years ago there were lots of restaurants in Macrossan Street boasting that Clinton had eaten there. Heh.

Hungry Hamster said...

Hey, I used to love Mekong too! Until I found strands of hair in my beef pho..
I've also heard lots of rumors about their hygiene...not sure how true they were.
Now I've been eating most of my Vietnamese food at Phong Son on Swanston Street.
Anyway, tell me what you think if you've tried it!

Anonymous said...

Pho's the best. That and dumplings are my 'stuck on a deserted beach' food. Actually, being a Sunday after a fun weekend, I might go and get some now...

Love Pho is yummy (a friend of a friend is the friendly owner) - next time you're there, check out the salted quail. Some of the best in Melb if you ask me.

Personally my favourite haunt for pho is Pho Dzung on Vic st. Got to admit I've never got around to trying the 'congealed blood' version though...

Adam (love food - wouldn't have a clue how to write about it)

Tom said...

I love Pho, but the Mekong has been heading down hill. Maybe after they were closed down (here) from the health violations - the cleanliness has ruined the taste of the food.

Try Pho888 in box hill - its the best tasting Pho I've had in Melbourne.