Thanh Phong

240 Victoria St
Richmond VIC 3121
+61 3 9427 7429

I was craving Vietnamese food yesterday so on the way to East Melbourne library to pick up a bunch of The Sopranos DVDs, Adam and I went to Victoria Street for lunch. With hundreds of Vietnamese joints to choose from, it can be rather difficult to pick one place to set your foot in. Thankfully my Cheap Eats Guide led us to Thanh Phong, located in the bustling middle section of Victoria Street. Thanh Phong is an unassuming restaurant that received two stars out of three in this year’s guide and with a menu consisting of 200 odd items all under $20, it’s no surprise why it’s popular.

Because I am dull and boring, I ordered a bowl of sliced beef pho. As is the case with most Vietnamese restaurants there are 5-10 other variations of beef pho, which you can choose from (beef balls, brisket, tendons etc) but I’m always too scared to order the “special beef” pho because I don’t particularly want to see blood jellies and eyeballs floating on top of my broth. Meanwhile, Adam was a bit more adventurous and ordered the bun bo hue.

While there was nothing wrong with my pho, I failed to see how it managed to make it into Cheap Eats and also get two stars. The food was definitely no better than many other Vietnamese restaurants along Victoria Street that didn’t make the guide. Adam also agreed with me, and said that his bun bo hue was not as fiery as some of the ones he’s had in Footscray and it was also missing his block of pig’s blood jelly (I don’t understand why he loves that stuff but whatever). After having a sip of Adam’s broth, I found that it lacked the usually dominant ingredient of lemon grass too. Not cool.

On the upside, the serving sizes were quite big for the price we paid ($8.50 each). While we both managed to finish 80% of our massive bowls, we did struggle to get out of our chairs. But as is the case with Vietnamese food, it was only a matter of time before we both got hungry again – in Adam’s case, he was munching on a banh mi 15 minutes later. Anyway, the jury’s still out as to whether I’ll make a return visit. While I know that I won’t leave Thanh Phong with my tummy still rumbling, the fact that there are 10 billion other similar joints on the same street makes it more likely for me to see what the others offer.

Having said all that though, it could’ve simply been the case of us ordering the wrong dishes. Heck, I saw half the tables with plates of fried spring rolls which actually looked quite nice (10 pieces for $8-9) so maybe if I crave some spring rolls should I be wandering along Victoria Street, I guess Thanh Phong might be where I’d end up.

I eat too much.

9 Comments

  1. fipar20
    December 15, 2008

    Mmmm….Blood jelly…lol! That stuff’s nice =D

    Reply
  2. icesabre
    December 15, 2008

    Well, at least you did the Pho and Bun Bo Hue in a decent suburb. Box Hill is rubbish when it comes to Vietnamese food, especially the Pho shop 888 on Station St!!! Indochine is OK, better than Tien Dat I reckon.

    Reply
  3. jtngu8
    December 15, 2008

    Babe, I HAVE to take you out to one of my favourite joints for bun bo hue, Nam Giao, in Springvale. There’s a lot to love about the place; the decor is uber cute, it’s not too noisy, but most importantly, they do a great bowl of bun bo hue, among other things. Oh, and the lighting is adequate so you’re bound to get some nice foodie pics in there! I know I’ve mentioned it before to you but chances are you won’t be in Springvale anytime soon and we can so check out the many other identical restaurants here, too. I’ll be your trusty tour guide; what do you say!? 😀 By the way, I don’t do pig blood jellies, either. It’s one of those food items that made the unsavoury eating list..

    Go Janice on getting a 43! Can’t complain there!

    I didn’t expect to be lugging out my winter gear during summer, either, but then again, Melbourne’s weather is predictably unpredictable. I can’t say I don’t like having the rain, it helps me sleep better at night 😛

    I’ve actually yet to decide whether I should go to the Boxing Day sales this year or not. I’ve been rostered for a 7am-4pm shift so I could easily miss most of the crazy day crowds but there WAS a reason why I stayed away from those sales for two years…

    Reply
  4. szrina
    December 15, 2008

    I always wanted to try pho at Thanh Phong. I love my viet food. YUMMY!!

    Reply
  5. GODandShopping
    December 15, 2008

    Went to Gucci sale!

    Is good… didn’t buy anything though. I’ll just wait for it to go spastic on boxing day

    Reply
  6. peach_water
    December 15, 2008

    Hey 🙂
    Yah VCE results came out alright 😉 got my auntys making phone calls and etc etc. I wasn’t really interested coz.. Im not in speaking terms with my aunty heh.

    Oh.. Bun Bo Hue eh.. My aunty’s restaurant in Box Hill did it right. It was fiery and tasted damn good, but she had an accident and she closed down her shop.. so.. no more bun bo hue.

    Oh.. where u going to for boxing day sale?
    My friend wants to go to: chaddy, city and donny. But.. U know.. I only have 24 hours minus traveling time, sleep and eat and the restricted to the opening hours. sigh. Maybe I should really clone myself or something haha.

    Reply
  7. icesabre
    December 16, 2008

    Lib, just wondering if you managed to see any male trenchcoats at Morrissey???

    Reply
  8. SNSAZN
    December 16, 2008

    @fipar20 – 

    Haha I’m sure it IS nice, but I just can’t bring myself to eat it… ick!

    @icesabre – 

    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Indochine but I do remember liking it, perhaps we’ll go there instead of Tien Dat next time I’m at Box Hill (and feel like Viet food). I can’t recall seeing any mens’ trenchcoats at Morrissey because I only give a stuff about the ladies’ clothes haha, but I’m sure there would be… and hey, don’t you have a black trench already?! LOL

    @jtngu8 – 

    Okay Jen, next time I’m at Springy, Nam Giao will be the first place I’ll try, I swear! In fact, I told Adam that we must go to Springy just for Nam Giao and he said yes to that.

    @szrina – 

    There are probably better places on Victoria St to try pho, but perhaps we just didn’t know what to order…

    @GODandShopping – 

    I didn’t think that Gucci even had sales … LOL. Hey, I remember asking you about brands that sell decent trenchcoats and there was this one brand that sounded French, its store on Flinders Lane (I THINK). I can’t remember what the brand is but if you could be so kind to tell me again, then I would be forever grateful 🙂

    @peach_water – 

    That’s a shame about your aunty’s restaurant, what was it called?

    I thought about going to Shoppo on Boxing Day but chances are that I’ll be in the city so that I can also bring Adam his lunch (poor fella has to work on Boxing Day).. heh.

    Reply
  9. GODandShopping
    December 16, 2008

    @SNSAZN – oooh! I can’t think of it but I’ll be walking around tomollow so I’ll check it out.

    Also my mate’s store has a sale tommorow

    Marais Level 1 Royal Arcade – Sell YSL, Lanvin, Balenciaga etc..

    Reply

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