Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hanoi no Hoi-san

Meeting up in Shibuya for K.'s bday party a couple of weeks ago, hubby ran across this Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi no Hoi-san's while waiting for my train to arrive. He happened to have class in Ikebukuro that day, and so in the late afternoon he had tons of time to explore the Shibuya Station area while I take the train up from Yokohama.

As soon as he stumbled onto the fake Pho signage outside, he texted me with excitement as we haven't found any Vietnamese food since arriving in Japan late last August. There are several Vietnamese restaurants in Tokyo of course and we have friends who say this place is okay and that place is good, but we haven't had the courage to try any of them. Let's just say  we have access to very authentic Vietnamese food at home and so shelling out top dollar...err...yen to try a place we've never been just doesn't make any sense. I'd rather spend that money on delicious Japanese food myself. We won't be living in Japan forever, so why not fill up while we're here? 

But it is the holiday season after all, and even though we'd be on the plane a few days later hubby was a bit homesick and couldn't wait for a little taste of home. There are several Pho houses near our home in the US of A, all serving super authentic dishes for about $7-8 a piece, and so we're just very spoiled. Then again, stumbling onto Hanoi no Hoi-san was purely coincidental and after hubby assured me we won't be spending a fortune (he literally could not wait for a few more days for a bowl of Pho, not to mention we were on our way to a bday party at an izakaya!), I finally caved and we stopped in for a quick snack.

I ordered yaki Pho and it came out with my mum's caramelized ground pork, though made with fish sauce. The pork was then tossed with a wider rice noodle, bean sprouts, and sprinkled with cilantro. It was surprisingly spicy, which can't go wrong with me, and it was good but tasted more like Thai food than Vietnamese.

That's me taking a whiff of my yaki Pho and thinking, " smells like...Thai food." xD

Hubby ordered chicken Pho and consistent with the restaurant's namesake, it was served Hanoi style, i.e. without any fresh herbs (besides the scallions and bean sprouts already in the bowl) and fish sauce for garnishing. However, the odd part was that the fish sauce was diluted and mixed into a sauce instead of the undiluted straight up fish sauce like how they like it up north. 

Hubby liked his Pho, but I thought it tasted more like a different type of rice noodle soup, hủ tiếu, rather than Pho. But it wasn't bad. It really was a snack though, as the bowl was tiny, smaller than a small bowl back home for around 700yen, which was actually pretty cheap in Japanese food price standard!

Winter in Japan means strawberry season, and so there was strawberry flavored everything everywhere! Here's strawberry Calpis, and yes, it's pronounced exactly as it's spelled, which is why it's marketed as "Calpico" outside of Japan, you know, so that folks don't start giggling every time they see it. Somethings just don't translate xD

And this is a strawberry daifuku chocolate, but really an inside out daifuku with strawberry chocolate on the outside and a tiny nub of mochi in the middle ^.^

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