The season of phở is upon us and you’d be surprised at how many restaurants around Auckland have their own versions of this soul-warming delicacy. Phở is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup which has a unique flavour profile and quality, unlike any other broth. It’s lighter than the Japanese tonkotsu ramen, has more depth than a regular chicken noodle soup and is one of the most aromatic and fragrant dishes to enjoy in winter. When done right, the phở is capable of curing and replenishing and this is where to go in Auckland to get a bowl of the best.
Try It Out Restaurant
For some, Otahuhu may be a bit of a drive but for us, it’s well worth the journey. The rare beef phở at Try It Out is some of the best we’ve tasted in this city and we are not the only ones who think so. The restaurant is always packed with locals as well as people who have travelled from other parts of Auckland to satisfy their Vietnamese phở cravings. If you’re wanting something a little different, step outside your comfort zone and try the rare beef with tendons. It lends the phở an addictive chew factor and some say that they can never go back to their usual beef phở after experiencing this one.
Dominion Road is renowned for having some of the tastiest, most authentic Asian eateries, so it comes as no surprise that it’s also home to a delicious Vietnamese restaurant. Viet Kitchen has earned a reputation for both its phở as well as serving an array of high-quality Vietnamese dishes. This includes the clay pot fried rice, Saigon caramelised pork belly and our favourite — the bún bò huế. The broth is taken up a notch with additional chilli, lemongrass and tangy tomatoes. Paired with slow-cooked beef and hearty rice noodles, this one is bound to be your winter companion.
Situated in the IMAX food court in the CBD, it’s easy to simply go past Pho Viet without giving it a second look, but trust us when we say it’s worth a stop in. While there’s a wide selection to choose from on the menu, it’s the beef brisket phở that deserves a special mention. The broth does everything a phở should do — comfort and satisfy — and is loaded with fresh herbs to lend a unique aroma and fragrance. To make the most of your experience, finish off with a cold glass of cà phê đá. The Vietnamese iced coffee is perfect refreshment after a bowl of scalding hot broth.
This Grey Lynn neighbourhood restaurant serves modern Vietnamese fare that stays true to the traditional and authentic flavours of Vietnam. Aside from Café Viet’s infamous Viet ribs, the ox-tail beef phở is not to be missed. Available in two different sizes, no matter how much you order, there’s always room for a bowl. Vibrant greens such as coriander and freshly-chopped chives give this phở a bright, fresh appearance and flavours that seep into the intense beef flavours of the broth. As a result, this pho is perfectly balanced and replenishing for the soul.
This Burswood restaurant takes the beef phở very seriously, providing nine different variations of the delicacy. At Saigon Kitchen, the deluxe phở is the way to go. The deep bowl is filled with every cut of beef you can find from the flank to the tendon and even tripe. Vietnamese beef meatballs are also added into the dish and the medley of meats creates a melange of textures and flavours that make every bite enticing. For dinner, Saigon Kitchen opens its Steamboat Buffet, where you can pick and choose an unlimited amount of vegetables, wontons, seafood and meats to add to the big boiling pot of broth on your table, making Saigon Kitchen the go-to place for large groups seeking a winter-warming feast.
If you’re in a time crunch and need a quick fix, Nam Nam in Takapuna is one of the top lunch break spots on the North Shore. The beef and chicken phởs are undeniably delicious but it’s the vegan mushroom and tofu phở that has the Takapuna locals hooked. The mushroom lends the broth a deep yet pure flavour, similar to mushroom dashi and pairs perfectly with the vegan tofu summer rolls. Nam Nam is also popular for its bánh mì, the tofu edition is tasty but the lemongrass pork sausage is the best. The juicy, marinated patties of pork are enriched with housemade mayo and pâté which goes down a treat when followed by sips of the palate-cleansing broth from the phở.