The last couple of months I spent my Saturdays at home. Always with the same friend and always with dinner. Sometimes home-made, but mostly takeout. Last weekend we ordered Vietnamese food from Pho Saigon. I miss Vietnam and its amazing food, especially since I have friend there who posts the most mouth-watering pictures. So instead of dreaming of traveling to Vietnam, I decided to start with ordering food here. Pho Saigon it was.
I might have gone a little overboard with the order, but I figured I will finish the rest on Sunday. We got two kinds of fried spring rolls. One veggie version, and one with pork. The veggie one was good, but the pork rolls really fantastic. Very tasty and well seasoned. I loved the size of the rolls, and the perfect crunch. Also the roll itself was not overly greasy. A lovely starter.
The summer rolls on the other hand, here ordered with shrimps but available in four different choices, achieved a level of blandness which I hadn’t known so far. Looking at them they appear perfect, thick and round, with the perfect level of elasticity. Taking the first bite though, disappointment floods through me. Instead of loads of fresh herbs, salad, veggies, and a bit of noodles, its all rice noodles inside. Really too bad.
During this long time of closed restaurants and takeout food, I have learned that dishes with a lot of rice in them, go soggy. I therefore tend to stay clear of them and go for something else. Usually when it comes to Vietnamese food, pho would be my staple go to. Although it’s a breakfast dish, you can eat it whenever. Since I didn’t want to reheat anything at home (call me lazy all you want) I decided to get different kinds of salads and an extra bowl of rice. Just in case the salad packs to much heat.
We got the papaya salad with shrimps, the beef salad, the glass noodle salad, and the roasted duck salad. The duck was actually just for me, in case we polished everything else off on Saturday already. That was an unnecessary worry because the portions are big and with the three kinds of roll upfront we had more than enough.
The papaya salad swam in a pool of dressing, which my friend loved. I rather like it juicy too, so that was a plus. The salad was good, had a lot of shrimps inside, and the crushed peanuts on top gave it a satisfying crunch. Still, it was not remarkable. Just good.
The beef salad was a disappointment for me. The meat looked almost grey, and there was again not enough spice. My friend liked to eat it in combination with the glass noodle salad and enjoyed the amount of onions in it. But doesn’t that say it all? On its own the salad was just plain boring.
The glass noodle salad fared little better. It was most enjoyed in combination with the beef salad though and had the same dressing as the other two salads. Which is probably okay, when you only eat one. But with three salads at the same time I would have appreciated more variety. And I remember that they do taste differently in the home country.
Interestingly enough the duck salad fared best. At least in my opinion, because I ate it all by myself the next day. It was spicy, and crunchy, and overall just very satisfying. Exactly what I would have wished the other salads to be like.
Generally speaking Pho Saigon Kitchen & Bar was a mix of hits and misses. I loved the spring rolls, while the summer rolls totally disappointed. The salads were probably too much of the same, with the duck salad the clear winner. Vietnamese food is a comfort food for me and insofar Pho Saigon works. I should probably go back and taste their pho and/or bun to give Pho Saigon a really fair review. But the summer rolls were really, really disappointing. So let’s wait a bit. Yours, Pollybert
Pho Saigon Kitchen & Bar
1010 Wien, Hegelgasse 17
Tel: +43 1 5121184
Mon-Sat: 12:00-21:00 (please check online)