Hong Kongers love a good bowl of pho. Take a look at the lunch crowd on any given weekday and chances are one of the biggest queues will be outside a Vietnamese pho restaurant. Soon to be added to this list is Chua Lam’s Pho, slated to open on 5 July 2018 on Central’s buzzy Wellington Street.
Developed and opened by revered food journalist, TV host and producer Chua Lam, the restaurant revolves around the incredibly aromatic yet clean broth, made from a recipe from Mr Lam’s all-time favourite pho restaurant in Melbourne, the famous Pho Dzung. The unique broth is built on a very specific ratio of bone, meat and fish sauce to give it plenty of flavour without any hint of oiliness.
The massive space is perhaps the biggest pho restaurant we’ve seen in Hong Kong and spans two floors with three separate kitchens. All the pho are made fresh in-house, and guests can see the entire process, from rice milling, to steaming the rice sheets, to cutting the noodle strands, thanks to the specialised machine at the front of the restaurant.
Before the official opening, we got a backstage pass to meet Mr Lam and taste some of the specialities. We started with refreshingly sweet pomelo salad ($38), accented with crunchy peanuts and fried shallots.
Then came the fried spring rolls ($48), lightened by wrapping with lettuce, pickled daikon and carrot and perilla leaves.
The grilled lemongrass pork neck ($58) came with an addictively spicy sauce.
The crispy shrimp cake ($78) was very juicy, packed with generous morsels of prawn.
The main event: raw beef pho ($88).
The broth was the cleanest pho we’ve tasted thus far, full of flavour yet devoid of any greasiness. We recommend letting the fresh herbs infuse in the hot broth for even more aromatics. The beef was tender yet cut thick enough to give it some bite. The freshly made pho noodles were silky and slippery. There’s even free noodle refills if you just can’t get enough!
If there’s still room in your stomach, you can always go for a banh mi ($28) made with a sweet pork and beef filling that reminded us of char siu.
We capped off our tasting with some slippery lemongrass and lime jelly ($19) with a hint of pandan.
This place is going to explode with popularity come opening day. The high-quality food, coupled with the modern, trendy interior design and fair pricing, are sure to make Chua Lam’s Pho the most talked about pho spot in town. We can already see the lines out the door…
G–1/F, 15–25 Wellington Street, Central, 2325 9117
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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