Pho Viet

Special thanks to Pho Viet for extending this food review invitation.

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

Pho Viet is a small Vietnamese eatery along Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai). Its food menu is a combination of traditional dishes from various regions around the country. The restaurant is operated by ethnic Vietnamese, so you can expect the food here to be as authentic as it gets.
The restaurant's entrance is decorated with Vietnamese lanterns and nón lá (farmer's hats). Stepping inside, the dining section presents a homely feeling reminiscent of Vietnamese hospitality. Because Pho Viet is celebrating International Women's Day this weekend, the dining tables are covered with red tablecloths.
Today's meal begins with a starter dish called Gỏi Bưởi (RM18.00). The plate of pomelo and shrimp salad is served with sweet sauce. The dressing also has moderate spiciness, which does a good job in building appetite.
Combo Set B (RM29.00) allows customers to savor gỏi cuốn. These Vietnamese spring rolls contain a variety of fillings like chicken, beef, pork or shrimps, as well as bún (rice vermicelli) and vegetables. The skin is made of soft rice paper called bánh tráng. As for condiments, the platter comes with nước chấm (spicy fish sauce) and tương đậu phộng (peanut sauce).
Diners can also opt for Combo Set A (RM39.00), which comprises of gỏi cuốn, chả rế (deep-fried spring rolls) and chạo tôm (grilled prawn cakes on lemongrass sticks). These signature finger foods are best enjoyed with nước chấm and tương đậu phộng.
Phở Bò (RM14.00) is perhaps one of the most iconic Vietnamese dishes to most people outside Vietnam. The broth is boiled with beef bones for over 8 hours, culminating in immensely rich flavors. Phở Bò is customarily eaten with bánh phở (rice noodle), beef slices, coriander and onions. Served on the side are húng quế (Thai basil), bean sprouts, red chili peppers and lime.
If you are fond of fried tofu, Đậu Hũ Chiên Xả (RM10.00) should appeal to your palate. Tofu is prepared in bite-size pieces in order to maximize its crispiness. Lemongrass and chili peppers season the tofu in an appetizing manner. I cannot recommend this dish highly enough.
Cà Phê Sữa Đá (RM7.50) is probably the most popular drink here. I love the bitter aftertaste of Vietnamese coffee on my tongue. As for something refreshing, Sả Gừng Đá (RM7.00) has a soothing aroma as it is cooked from fresh lemongrass and ginger. Meanwhile, Chè Ba Màu (RM7.00) is the Vietnamese equivalent of Penang's local cendol.
Pho Viet has recently introduced a kids menu in effort to present a family-friendly setting. For example, this kids' meal consists of French fries, meatballs and watermelon cubes. Adorable plates and cutlery are used.
Each kids' meal comes with a glass of nước ép cam (orange juice). The drink has the right level of sweetness. A slice of orange on the glass' rim is for decorative purpose.
Pho Viet places strong emphasis on cooking food from scratch, which explains why it does not use MSG when preparing any of its dishes. To keep food taste as authentic as possible, the restaurant sources most ingredients from Vietnam. In spite of that, the food pricing here remains fairly affordable for most people.
Name: Pho Viet
Address: 496, Lebuh Pantai, 10300 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 012-559-1905
Business hours: 11:00am-10:00pm, closed on Thursdays
Coordinates: 5.41226 N, 100.33460 E
Directions: Pho Viet is located on Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai), next to Magpie Heritage and near the intersection with Lebuh Prangin. Street parking is available along Beach Street.

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