Friday, March 1, 2013

wat da pho

So those of you that know me know that I love fish sauce and everything related to it. The only reason I haven't eaten my way through Vietnam yet is because this year I'm taking my sister on a trans-America trip which is just hemorrhaging money. A recent conversation between a most awesome friend and I over work email (talking about banh hoi which you can read about here):

me: that ban hoi place. OMG BAN HOI. FISH SAUCE.

H: FISH SAUCE. VIETNAMEEEEEE!

me: I WANT TO GO TO VIETNAM AND JUST EAT ALL OF THEIR FISH SAUCE. ALL OF IT.

H: I WANT TO GET FISH AND SQUEEZE IT INTO A BOTTLE

me: I WANT TO GET FISH TO FERMENT IN THE SUN WITH THE AID OF BACTERIA AND THEN SQUEEZE THE DRIPPING CARCASS INTO MY MOUTH.

True story.

Anyway, as luck would have it a new Vietnamese place called Wat Da Pho opened up around the corner from my work. They have MSG-free pho and other delicious ricey distractions. Cow and chicken Victoria Street pho it ain't. There is a TV in the corner that, instead of 80's karaoke clips, broadcasts Luke Nguyen's hyper-coloured culinary journey through Vietnam. The tables are not sticky and you don't need to wipe the chopsticks before using them. Decor is fresh, young and spot on the zeitgeist. Perfect for the South Melbourne yuppy (do we still use that word?) crowd. WDP are so cool that they serve the customary bean shoots and Vietnamese mint on a wooden chopping board.



And their beef pho.

Underneath this steaming pile of rice noodles is buried beef.

Y'all know how I feel about MSG free pho but this was surprisingly delicious. Fat rice noodles, fresh crispy beanshoots, very tasty broth. Without the MSG you don't get dry mouthed and sleepy 2 hours post consumption. There isn't much to complain about. 

WDP are acutely aware of their new Asian kid on the block status and as such have culturally sensitive names for the rest of the menu like "sticks on da chelli" (grilled skewers of meat on a bed of soft rice vermicelli noodles) and "ching rolls" (seriously).

Chicken sticks on da chelli.


Here you pour a small pitcher of fish sauce yourself. After this photo was taken my tertiary educated friend E spilled the fish sauce up her sleeve. She had a hard time explaining to people at work why she smelt like Bikram feet. JUST JOKES E I LOVE YOU!

Prawn ching rolls.
I have an inordinate amount of photos of food from this place on my phone. I go here at least once a week to bask in all the fish saucey goodness. WDP also serve very fresh rice paper rolls, $10 for any 3. They even have vegetarian options with a seriously yummy marinated tofu strip. My workmates are aware that I do rice paper roll runs, all the freaking time.

My afternoon tea.

South Melbourne sorely needed authentic Asian eateries and despite not being authentic in a Footscray kind of way, WDP ticks all the boxes. Watch out for the sometimes long wait at lunch, otherwise you can always get a table at dinner.

Wat Da Pho
212 Clarendon Street
South Melbourne
9696 5605


Wat Da Pho on Urbanspoon

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