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Published March 4th 2014
Cheap, Cheerful and Therapeutic
A miserable wet weekend and we welcomed the idea to have some hearty warm comfort beef noodle soup - pho.
We arrived in the Eastwood central district around lunchtime and immediately we noticed a queue formed outside a rather orange-looking restaurant. It is the Vietnamese Pho bar my friend was recommending.
Pho Gia Hoi has plenty of pho-outlets. There is one in the City, Canley-Vale, Bankstown and now in Eastwood. Its street credential for good authentic pho is pretty solid. We joined the queue.
Eastwood is a ruthless Asian dining district. It has a rather high turnover of restaurants. The Eastwood diners seemed to have a sophisticated taste palate. Anything that tasted sub-standard and less than authentic will not survive long. The good restaurants will stay for many years and the bad ones change every couple of months.
Today they have a 10% off opening special which helps us keep to our budget spending. Obviously that is part of the reason it draws in a large crowd.
We didn't have to wait long, the head waiter/owner was very efficient in allocating seats. The queue moved forward quickly. By the time we sat down we were ravenous.
The menu selection is quite impressive with 149 items to choose from. There are a great range of Vietnamese dishes along with classic ones as well. We all know what we wanted: the large bowl of beef pho noodle soup.
Once we've placed our order for Special Beef Noodle Pho, the waitress came back with a plate of Pho-condiments. No pho is complete without the sidekicks - Fresh Basil or Mint, Bean Sprouts, Chili and Lemon/Lime.
We also ordered the popular 3-Colours drink. It was filled with icy, jelly and syrups. It tasted fun, icy and very sweet. Soon after, our pho arrived.
I have to say, it was a massive serving. You can easily feed two with this size.
Gai Hoi was very generous with their fresh thin beef slices. The soup was hot and flavorsome, the rice noodles were smooth and slippery. I like eating mine with hoisin sauce and chili sauce as they add an extra layer of flavour. My Vietnamese friend informed me that the most authentic way is to eat with a dash of fish sauce. Not a lot of foreigners know that secret.
This dish is classic Vietnamese at its best. I was very pleased with my pho-therapy.