With the exception of a few “exotic” street vendors – who caused outrage in Yangon a while ago when it was discovered they were serving dog meat – Vietnamese pho has become a popular respite from rice in recent years. A trickle of new Vietnamese restaurant openings are doing a roaring trade – particularly among expats thankful for their fresh, healthy offerings and minimal use of oil.
Golden Pho – which opened its first restaurant a few years back – has proven so popular that it now has restaurants all over the city. You will find all of your favourite Vietnamese dishes on the menu here, which includes the usual pork buns, Pho and a range of salads. My guest and I opted for the fried spring rolls (K3500) and fresh prawn and pork rice-paper rolls (K3000) to start, both of which were excellent though, admittedly, difficult to get wrong. When it comes to sorting the vrai from the faux in the Vietnamese restaurant game, every Vietnamese food lover knows it all rests on the pho, so my guest chose the chicken version while I opted for the sliced rare beef. The dishes were served in the traditional Vietnamese way with a side of fresh bean sprouts and fresh herbs – and plenty of fresh chilli for those who like their noodle soup with added kick. The fragrant, steaming broth is just like you’d find in any good restaurant in Vietnam, and has a clean, wholesome flavour that sets it apart from the fatty, oilier versions available elsewhere in the city.
Health-conscious diners will take pleasure in the surprising range of fresh juices and smoothies. My fresh pineapple juice (K2500) was served in a Mason jar – a trendy touch (the restaurant’s owner hails from Melbourne) that will no doubt prove popular with bearded expats. Fresh young coconuts (K2000) are also on the menu – the staff will carve the shell up for you if you want to scoop out the fruit inside – and the traditional Vietnamese coffee is a real gem.
There are no delusions of grandeur here. The interior is modern but minimal – almost clinically so – and the service is somewhat aloof, even after the crowds have cleared out. But Golden Pho undoubtedly serves the freshest, tastiest, best-value Vietnamese food in Yangon, making it a must-go for noodle soup lovers – if you can find a table.
Golden Pho has various locations across Yangon, including a central location at Sule Square. To find them, search for them on Facebook.
Perfect for… casual lunch with friends
FBWT star rating:★★★★