Pho99: A Trip To Saigon
-   2017-10-18 | nepaltraveller.com
Nice ambience topped off with authentic Vietnamese food.
One may say that the valley has many Southeast Asian restaurants but finding the authentic ones can be quite a palaver. Our hunt to find an authentic Southeast Asian restaurant leads us to the gate of Pho99.
Pho99 began its journey in 2011, opening its first restaurant in Maharjagunj. The restaurant has been promoting Vietnamese cuisine ever since. Today, their endeavor has resulted in a chain of restaurants—with three in Kathmandu valley and one in the lake city of Pokhara.
We step inside the small bamboo gate and are greeted by the friendly staff. The airy and spacious courtyard is filled with the bustle and murmur of people. The waiters moving about to cater to extended family luncheons, business meetings and a few couples and friends chatting about—everyone simply here to try the Vietnamese cuisine. The courtyard is filled with greenery; there is a beautiful painting of the rural Vietnamese lifestyle, two farmers walking along the paddy fields on the coast of the Ha Long Bay. The interior is adorned with art and décor that depicts the Vietnamese culture: conical hats, paintings, mosaic lamps, Asian dolls and sculptures of Lord Buddha.
The bartenders prepare a special drink for us—the Avocado smoothie. According to the manager NaveenSaru, the smoothie is a fan favourite among the guests in Pho99. The drink has a sleek texture, giving you the taste of fresh avocados with no added flavours. Our choice of appetizer was the Wonton. Shaped like a Vietnamese hat, this crispy delight dipped on tangy sauce is simply satisfying.
We then moved on to the entrée, and are first introduced to a popular summer delicacy, Bun ThitNuong. It is a vivid and wholesome dish, a bowl filled with cold rice noodles, topped with grilled pork, fresh green herbs and a few varieties of green veggies. Alongside comes a zesty cold dressing with peanuts and carrots, which you’re supposed to add to the bowl. Mr.Saru tells us that all the items in the dish must be mixed thoroughly to give you the sapid taste it is meant to give. The dish was a blend of sweet and sour—a unique taste one can only find in Southeast Asian dishes.
The second dish was Vietnamese fish curry concocted with rich coconut cream. The curry itself was creamy, but the cilantro and green chili dressing gives it a piquant taste. The curry is served with a bowl of white rice, making it the perfect choice for anyone who isn’t fond of Asian rice noodle dishes.
Our final dish was the much-awaited famous Vietnamese dish, Pho. A quintessential meal to most Vietnamese, pho is a noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, a few herbs and your choice of meat. The pungent broth we were served today had shrimp, fresh herbs and a plate of leafy vegetables, lemons, chilies and two flavoursome sauces to season the main dish with.
Mr. Saru talks about the many benefits of Pho and the reason why it is the staple meal for the Vietnamese locale. The dish has an earthy taste—low on the calories, rich in proteins and, provides your body with necessary minerals like sodium. The hot and spicy broth is popular for its healing attributes. It is the perfect cold remedy and is known to be a hangover cure.
Vietnamese cuisine may not be the most sought-after cuisines in the city, but it is a good change to your appetite once in a while, especially if you’re a fan of Southeast Asian foods and are looking for healthy alternatives.
Address: Jhamsikhel Lalitpur, Nepal
Opening hours: 11AM to 9PM