Review: Pho Dakao Hoang (Melbourne, VIC)

Shop 6/17 Balmoral Avenue
Springvale VIC 3171
+61 3 9558 5996

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good bowl of pho – or even an average one for that matter (August, WTF). Thus, it kind of pains me to write this review of Pho Dakao Hoang, a Vietnamese restaurant in Springvale.

I’m not one to go to Springvale for my Vietnamese fix (why, when Richmond and Footscray offers equally fantastic offerings and are easier to get to) but my sister Janice insisted that we take our visiting cousin Jess and our Singaporean friend Paix to Springvale for lunch on weekend. Given that it’s been a while since I’ve been to Springvale (three years as a matter of fact), I agreed – as long as Janice drove, hah!

We had the option of three different places on Balmoral Avenue but in the fact, Pho Dakao Hoang won out because it looked less crazy inside (but nevertheless, still busy enough). Now Janice warned us that Pho Dakao Hoang doesn’t actually specialise in pho – broken rice dishes are the way to go apparently – but I thought to myself: ‘Surely the pho can’t be that bad here?’

(yes, that was a bit of foreshadowing btw)

Vietnamese iced white coffee ($3)
Vietnamese iced white coffee ($3)

The café sua da was perhaps a bit sweeter than I would have liked, however it was an otherwise solid performer.

Prawn spring rolls ($8)
Prawn spring rolls ($8)

The prawn spring rolls were well-priced given the rather generous serving size. Each beautifully crispy spring roll also held a non-stingy amount of prawn too, another plus in my books.

Pho with fresh sliced beef and brisket ($9.50)
Pho with fresh sliced beef and brisket ($9.50)

We all ordered beef pho with varying topping permutations (sliced beef and brisket, sliced beef and beef balls, sliced beef on its own). There is the option for super hungry diners to go extra large ($13 a bowl), though I reckon the standard-sized bowl is already big enough. I mean, I struggled to finish mine.

To be honest, the main reason why I struggled with mine was not so much because of how massive the bowl was but because the pho wasn’t that good. The broth had a visible bright yellow tinge (which you can kind of see in my photo) that screamed out ‘HEAPS OF MSG! OMG!’ and the beef was not the best quality (sliced beef shouldn’t be THIS tough). In a way, it was kinda funny that this restaurant had the word ‘pho’ in its name when it wasn’t even their best dish. My sister was right so it was our own fault for not listening to her but to be fair, there aren’t many occasions where I’d choose rice over noodles.

If you’re into broken rice dishes, fast service, generously-sized portions and bad pho, then head to Pho Dakao Hoang. If you’re really particular about your pho or can’t stand lots of MSG, then you’re better off ducking into any one of the hundreds of other Vietnamese restaurants in Springvale.

Pho Dakao Hoang on Urbanspoon

I eat too much.

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