Neighbourhood: West End
Address: 5-794 Sargent Ave
It’s clear upon entering Pho Hoang that this buzzing West End eatery is all about the broth.
The savoury scent that hangs in the air is courtesy of a beef bone and oxtail stock that has been simmering for 24 to 48 hours. The result, a clear broth of intense depth and meaty flavour, makes the basis for the menu at this noodle house.
Though the origin of pho has been debated, most sources point to Vietnam’s French colonial influence, which brought the art culinaire predilection for meaty broths in contact with the rice noodles of Vietnamese street vendors. Today, the soup is Vietnam’s national dish, served with slices of beef, rice noodles and a bounty of fresh herbs.
At Pho Hoang, bowls are big enough to share, delivered with a heaping side plate of bean sprouts, lime, Thai basil and bird’s eye chiles ready to be added to the mix. Along with 12 variations on pho, the starring broth is the basis for egg noodle soups swimming with smoky barbeque pork or tender seafood.
Though soups may be the main attraction, the rest of the menu holds offerings equally enjoyable. Fresh, crunchy lotus root salad is a mix of the iron-rich root, shredded daikon and carrots, dressed in a pungent fish sauce vinaigrette.
The French connection can be spotted at dessert as well; a bàhn flan (or crème caramel) is eggy and extra sweet, with a buttery smooth texture.