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In close proximity to the area and feeling peckish after our steamed egg custard buns and pandan chiffon cake baking efforts, we decided to head to Springvale for their annual Lunar New Year celebrations. Thoughts of nem nuong instantly came to mind and had me salivating.
However after spending a good 10 minutes looking for a parking spot and another 15 weaving through and being pushed by what felt like the entire Asian population of Melbourne, we decided to throw in the towel and dine at a nearby restaurant instead. Choosing to do so before others had caught on, we managed to secure a table for four at Pho Hoang. We had arrived at a good time because the restaurant was completely full within 20 minutes.
The interior looked very similar to other Vietnamese restaurants I have previously visited and had I not known where we were, I could’ve sworn up and down that we were in Footscray or Richmond…
Aside from the occasional picture depicting some sort of landscape or scenery, the interior was quite basic. Minus the frills, we had high hopes for the food.
It’s safe to assume that when the word ‘pho’ features in the name of the restaurant, the Vietnamese rice noodle dish is a must-order. And that we did, with the other three ladies ordering variations of the pho dish. Going by the nonexistent complaints and the satisfaction of pho cravings, they were happy with their dishes.
Egg noodles with wontons.
And me? I’m not the biggest pho fan to begin with, so I decided to go in a different direction (but not really) and order the wonton noodles. The MSG-laden soup was quite sweet and salty, and while the familiar taste was pleasant at first, it soon became too much for my taste buds.
Like the serving portions at this restaurant, the wontons themselves were also quite generously-sized. The silky and soft wonton skins were a plus but the mince and mushroom filling tasted too ‘sweet’ for my liking. Together with the soup, the dish was one big MSG overdose. After flicking off much of the soup, the egg noodles, lettuce and bean shoots were fortunately alright to eat.
While this encounter has not deterred me from ordering wonton noodles again if I were to revisit this restaurant in future, I may just opt for the pho option to be safe.
36 Buckingham Ave,
Springvale, Victoria, 3171.
(03) 9558 4064