Tag Archives: pho

free pho

25 Jan

london 1.41pm 12.1C sunny friday 2019

i have just been to my first freebie since i broke my right foot, and first freebie of the year. it is at pho, a vietnamese eating place near oxford st. i got a free beef steak and brisket pho. i also get to meet the other freebies go-ers, asian women, who were queueing up. even though it was so early 11.15am. when it opens at 12noon. there were 3 of them, so we shared a table. one of them ordered giant prawns, and when i saw what she got i wished i had ordered them instead. haha. it came with a plate of  basil, coriander leaves, bean sprouts which u are supposed to put into the bowl yourself.

in the street stalls in vietnam it seems these are placed on the tables, for the diners to help themselves to any amount they like. but here of course it is just one plate. this is the first time i have eaten pho. Pronounced like fur.

pho is similar to the chinese noodle soups, except the chinese add all the ingredients before hand and pour hot soup over it. and it will have noodles in it. for this meal, we got ho -fun noodles. (flat noodles). my dish normally cost £9.50. the prawn dish is £1 more.

its quite nice , though the broth was  salty but that is normal with restaurant foods nowadays. but i think people get used to it. as it is,  i drank all the soup so i must have got used to the saltiness. the others made a mistake by putting the chilli oil they have on the table to the bowl itself , rather than put it on the side plate like i did to dip. it was very spicy for them. so they were not able to finish it completely. 

i like being at the head of the queue, as we will get to eat first. if u are back at the queue u have to wait till those in front have lingered over their meal and vacated their seat before u can get seated. i thought they have only 100 meals to give away but their website did not mention this limit. just said that it will be served from 12 to 4pm, and mentioned that as long as u join the queue before 4pm u will get it. so if they really continue to serve till the end, that would be very generous of them. 



whilst waiting in the queue, we saw a load of groceries being delivered and i saw fried bean curd on the trolley. it would be nice to have that in our soup. i wonder which dish have that. fried bean curd (found out they are not called fried bean curd but its tou fou pok) usually used in laksa.

is quite expensive in the chinatown grocery stores, so maybe that is why it is not a common ingredient.

i can remember back in malaysia it is a cheap ingredient, but maybe nowadays it has become expensive. so many cheap ingredients that i remember from my childhood are now expensive. ikan bilis, dried prawns, curry leaves used to be poor man’s food. but now i cannot find any ikan bilis or dried prawns on sale in chinatown. 

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

11 Sep


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.