you wait ages for a free lunch and then two comes along

11 Sep

london

Yesterday i got an email from a newsletter saying there is a free lunch given by pho the company in their new branch in one new exchange, near st paul’s cathedral. it is a vietnamese eating place. i have not tasted pho at all, even though there are lots of vietnamese restaurants serving them. So i decided to go there today to get the free lunch.

pho is pronounced like ‘fur’. click on that to hear it.

the place opens at 11.30am and i thought i shall not try to get there too early as i dont want to be the only one there. haha. how naive. when i got there at about 10mins to 12pm, the queue was long stretching outside the door.

it was on the first floor and it was so new, the name of the restaurant was not even listed in the entrance of the building.

i just saw 4 women who were obviously office workers going up the escalators and thought i shall just follow them.

if u were two people u can jump the queue, and then they were calling for one person, so i got to jump the queue. if u are a large group you have to wait.

it was very nice, no hassle to order anything else that is not free.

we can only get the pho, no starters or desserts, but that is fine by me. i know what i wanted and said i want the house special, because it has tiger prawns in it.

it came in a large bowl soon after i set down in a bench filled with other diners. and there was a side dish of herbs and bean sprouts, all of which i added to the bowl. i only kept the fresh chili apart. there were chili sauce, and chili oil, vinegar as condiments on the table.

I enjoyed it and chatted with a group of 3 guys who came to sit  later. one of them said the two guys at the end of the bench were their colleagues at the same office, but they came earlier.

he said he had not eaten pho either. I said it is very similar to malaysian style soup noodle dishes. that is a surprise to me as i thought vietnamese is a distinctly different dish to malaysian.

except malaysia dont have mint herb. but the coriander and bean sprouts are the same though in malaysia it will be added to the dish before it is  brought to the table. malaysia dont have this custom of having extra veg/herb at the table for u to add more of.

 i know the thais also allow you to add extra herbs and veg at least in those hawker road side stalls i see in thailand. so maybe vietnam also do the same. Though in this case there were no veg allready in the bowl, so the side dish is just for show, because all of it really is needed to be added to the bowl. though doing it this way the bean sprouts are real crunchy.

the house special is very nice, with enough tiger prawns and thin slices of beef and tofu. from the menu it costs £10 or so. glad i dont have to pay it. haha. but here is a real free lunch. no catch there. and it is on all day till they close at 10.30pm. what is to prevent people from going there again today? nothing, but i think no one will.

so finally i can say i have tasted pho.

2 Responses to “you wait ages for a free lunch and then two comes along”

  1. Garfield Hug Saturday September 13, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    You are brave as Pho can pack a punch for spiciness! Smart you left out chillis! Good you enjoyed pho 😀

  2. alifesgayventure Saturday September 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    hi, is pho normally very spicy then? here in that restaurant they must have adapted it for the western palate because it is not spicy at all, but they have chili oil and sciracha chilli paste on the table for people to add to the bowl.
    if it is normally very spicy, it would be like laksa in the malaysian restaurants here. they make it with mild curry and they accompany that with hot chilli paste for each eater to add according to their wish.
    it seems to me a lot of s.e.asian foods are similar to each other even if it is considered a different country speciality. for eg, pad thai is very similar to the char kueh teow in malaysia or singapore. with slight regional variations, like it is sweeter in some regions than in others. but perhaps i am basing all this from the pad thai cooked here in london thai restaurants. it may not be authentic. here in london, the cooks mix everything up, for eg, there is a dish called thai curry penang. haha.

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