Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pho Toan Thang, Flemington

Back in early April on our way up to the Hunter Valley, I was reading a post on Pho Toan Thang by Gastronomous Anonymous, and it made me feel quite nostalgic.  When I was growing up I really had the best of all food worlds, a father who would take me to noodle shops and hidden eateries  and a mother who would indulge me with her love of cakes, pastries and cafes, and to top it all off, they were both excellent cooks in their own right.  It was one of those days with my father in Flemington that I tried my first combination pork chop rice.  It was love at first bite, and I have never looked back.

After coming back from the Hunter Valley, I was a bit rice deprived.  You see, I am one of those people that need to eat rice at least a couple of times a week.  Otherwise, I don't feel quite right, which is  probably why my mother, when I was younger would call me 'rice bucket'.  Basically, if there was rice, I was there.  Cheesecake Boy could see I was needing a rice fix, and since he is obsessed with pho, it didn't take much convincing to end up at Pho Toan Thang.

The last time I was at the same spot where Pho Toan Thang is, was about eighteen years ago.  It was opening week for a Vietnamese restaurant, but if it's been the same place for the past eighteen years then I'm not sure.  However, I do remember having to queue, and eighteen years later I was doing it again. 

After waiting five minutes, we are whisked off to a table and found out when we got there that we had to share our table.  It's all in the experience, and I was feeling sorry for the two girls on our table. If only they knew before hand that we would end up needing more than half the table, and I would be shooting away at the food shortly.  I was grateful that they were were so obliging.  We were given menus and two minutes later we were required to order.

The food came out so quickly, and first up was Cheesecake Boy's usual order of coconut juice.  It's not as sweet as I like, so it was all his.

Coconut juice, $3.50

Naturally, Cheesecake Boy went for the pho. A lovely plate of plentiful herbs were presented to us, and then the pho came.

Basil, beansprouts and lemon

In my opinion, the pho stock had a very distinct overpowering taste of beef, and it didn't have quite the right balance of radish, black cardamon and star anise coming through.  Cheesecake Boy enjoyed it though.  While we thought it was definitely better than the one at Pho Sam Noodle House, Cheesecake Boy still considers the pho at PHD Vietnamese Restaurant his favourite.  However, Cheesecake Boy would certainly have his pho here if he couldn't make it to his favourite, as Marrickville can be a trek for us at times.

Pho or rare and well done beef rice noodle soup (as described in menu), $8.50

I was tossing up between the fried chicken and tomato rice that had lured me here, and the nostalgia of combination pork chop rice memories.  Memories of combination pork chop rice prevailed.  I thought this combination pork chop rice was quite good, loved the deep fried pork chop, but the meat loaf was on the dry side.  However, my favourite combination pork chop rice is still at Pho Pasteur in Chinatown. 

Combination pork chop rice, $8.50

The Vietnamese style deep fried spring rolls with the usual pork, carrot and vermicelli filling were the last to come.  They were crunchy and satisfying.

Spring roll, $6

As we walked out, I spied the fried chicken and tomato rice.  The fried chicken looked wonderfully crispy and welcoming, I will definitely come back for that next time.  We waddled out, completely satisfied and stuffed.  Pho Toan Thang is definitely cheap and cheerful, and good for a quick and simple feed.

Happy dining, Dumpling Girl.

Pho Toan Thang
Shop 9
95 The Crescent
Flemington  NSW  2140

Pho Toan Thang on Urbanspoon


chopinandmysaucepan said...

Oh my god, Dumpling Girl, oh no, no, I hope you left out a paragraph or two!! I frequent this place and the BEST dish ok, truly the BEST, I kid-you-not, the BEST, especially if you like rice like you say you do, is the fried rice with salted fish and chicken bits! Why, because the chicken has been marinated and this dish comes out with a great "wok breath" flavour that will knock you over. Can you please get back there asap and try this dish then, please?

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello chopinandmysaucepan, definitely the most passionate comment on this blog to date. Such love for that dish certainly warrants a return to try it out for sure. I just hope that it's in their menu in English. Otherwise, I'm going to be stumped to order this in Cantonese.

chopinandmysaucepan said...

The chicken is somewhat seared which is kinda different from all the others I've tried and the serving is fairly large so Cheesecake Boy needs to do his part :) Just hold fork and spoon in each hand and say "Haam yue kai lup chow faan" :) :) One of the waitresses use to say this to me as I used to order it so much it's written all over my face.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi chopinandmysaucepan, I don't know if I can convince Cheesecake Boy to eat salted fish, but I will try :)

Thank you for providing me with the pronunciation, it definitely makes it easier. Lol, it's funny when the waitstaff associate you with a dish, happens to me too.

Cooking Gallery said...

Vietnamese food is simply gorgeous! I can't get enough of it...!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi CC, love Vietnamese food too, it's simple and complex in flavour all at once.

Dolly said...

to me pho sam is pho fail.

i came in and ask for Pho Dac Biet, they were like whatt... :( i thought pho sam was terrible!

i think pho pasterur is pretty good.. but on the old side of parra... ive tried pho tay bay.. yikes..

i went to pho an 2 weeks ago.. it was okay.. but tooo overpriced!

i mite make my own soon hehe.. lovley for this weather!

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Dolly, I've started making my own pho as it's so cold lately, it's definitely a good idea.

Von said...

I haven't been to this place for a while now- I love their three coloured drink :) The meatloaf looks...interesting ;) haha....
Now I have a pho craving!

gastronomous anonymous said...

oh this is my favourite place in flemington! love the fried chicken :) pho is pretty good too! may have to visit soon....

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Von, Cheesecake Boy loves drinks, so we'll try the tri-colour drink next time :)

Hello gastronomous anonymous, the fried chicken looked great, I just wished I had ordered some, lol.

Mel said...

I've only ever had Pho once - I was put off by the "raw beef", but once I tried it I really loved it. I think I need to get out there and try it again and this looks like a great place to go.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi MissPiggy, sounds like this place may be a good option for you, as they asked Cheesecake Boy if he wanted his beef cooked or raw. Cooked beef was like fifty cents extra than purely raw.

Kath (My Funny Little Life) said...

I've never tried Vietnamese food, but I'm seriously intrigued! I love Asian food! :D

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Kath, I love Vietnamese food, one of my favourite Asian cuisines. It's not too hard to cook some of the dishes either.

susan said...

Oh that's making me so hungry! Looks delicious

Dumpling Girl said...

Hello Susan, the food was lovely.

spiderman said...

Hi Dumpling Girl,

I've been an avid reader of your blog for a fair while now (there's a funny reason as to why i started actually) and i've always wanted to comment but i rarely eat at the places you go to (though most of them make it onto my to-go-to list).

Currently writing a presentation for uni for tomorrow....and i decided to have a look and see if there were any updates ! AND I FOUND THIS !!!

Can i just say that i LOVE THIS PLACE, it is one of my top 5 places to eat. My dad brought me here since i was a kid so that makes it 18+ years now (i'm 21). Strange as it may be, i recognise the owners who have been there ever since i BEGAN to recognise them. And one of the waiters, i still have a clear memory of when he started to work there (and now he's worked his way up the pecking order).

But onto the food. It's sooo hard to pick with this place because they do so many things so well. The 2 things that i've been eating for 18 years though is the rare beef noodle soup + pork chop on red tomato rice (that's not the exact name on the menu).

As you've eaten the pho, i'll attempt to describe the pork chop on tomato rice: i know some vietnamese places have literally tomato sauce + rice, but this place's rice is like a tomato fried rice and it has a delicious "breath of wok" flavour, as well as little bits of egg. Combined with the delicious pork chop (in your combination dish!) it is a heavenly plate of food which i have loved for most of my life.

Also to try: raw beef fried rice (shang chow ow yuk faan) AND if you wish, their pho with chicken-soup base instead of the usual beef soup base. It is less heavy in the flavour but so full of chickeny goodness.

One more thing, did you actually go here on Saturday the 14th? Because i also ate there with my friends that night...i sat on the table on the second picture where the woman in blue was.

Sorry if i sound like a crazed maniac but..i'm so excited you reviewed somewhere i love so much!


Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Chris,

Thank you for finally commenting on our blog, and it's the best comment that I have seen on any blog period, yours definitely takes the cake :) Glad that you are happy to put up with my waffling on some of these posts still.

I'd love to know the funny reason why you first started reading this blog, if you ever care to share.

My father also bought me here 18 years ago, so we also have that in common.

You make the tomato rice sounds so good, I only like tomato rice that way and normally don't order it as I am worried that it'll only be cooked with tomato sauce and rice, which I find so repulsive.

Lol, thanks for the Cantonese pronunciation for the raw beef fried rice, you really have been reading the blog.

Sounds like I am going to need to bring a whole horde of people with me on my next visit, so I can eat all the recommendations that have been given to us.

I went back to my calendar and worked out that we were actually there on Sunday the 9th of April, it took me a while to post.

No need to be sorry for loving food, I fully understand. I am usually the crazy one.

Hope you get that presentation done and that I'll get to see more comments from you in the future :)

spiderman said...

The reason i started reading this blog (and food blogs in general) was not initially out of interest for finding new and delicious restaurants, but rather it was because at the time i was pursuing a girl and needed ideas on places to go.

Alas, i was successful and now i have become a fan of food blogs because of the vast array of cuisines, personalities and styles of writing. Also it gives me constant ideas on where to eat with my ladyfriend now.

So (directly/indirectly) thank you (and all the other bloggers) very much !

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Chris, we all have to start somewhere, mine was cos I just love to eat and had to get away from my dangerous shopping habit and fashion blogs, so I saw a food blog once and never looked back.

Your friend is a lucky lady as you care so much. Hope you get to enjoy some of the other places that I have posted.

Awww very sweet of you, but thank you for reading and making the effort to comment, we really appreciate it and it encourages us to keep blogging :)

Wendy @ Obesebaby said...

Oh I Love this place becoz I am just around the area and i at least dine in here once every 2 weeks or so. My fav here is the pho or the pork chop tomato rice..although this shop is always long quene but for a reason.

Dumpling Girl said...

Hi Wendy, you're so lucky that your around the area. Must go back and try the pork chop tomato rice that everyone is raving about :)