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Melbourne Food Review: Pho 888 Box Hill, Box Hill

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pho bo - rice noodles in beef broth with rare sliced beef

(beef pho – with sliced rare beef $7.5 S, $8.5m M $9.5L)

I’m not too sure if I have mentioned this a few times already, but I love pho – the famous Vietnamese staple of rice noodles in beef (or chicken) broth. I can eat it three times a day (in fact I have had three bowls of pho in the past two days). Before I get into the pho philosophy, which I will have to write about one of these days, let’s just stick to the review of Pho 888.

pho condiments - chilli, lemon, bean sprouts and Thai basil

(pho condiment – sliced chilli, lemon, beansprouts and Thai basil)

In short, Pho 888 is my second favourite pho joint in Melbourne. It’s the one we visit most often because it’s a 10 minute drive from our house so we end up there a lot. To me, a good pho has to have a good, well balanced soup, silky fresh rice noodles (using dried rice stick, personally, is a deal breaker), tender pieces of meat. Pho 888 ticks all the boxes.

three coloured drink

(three-coloured drink – $3)

Most recently, we ended up there last Saturday when it was almost 30′c and I didn’t feel like cooking. Walking into air-conditioned Pho 888 was a bit of a godsend. I quickly ordered the eternal Vietnamese favourite drink – the three-coloured drink. It was basically boiled kidney beans, mung bean paste, green sweet noodle in syrup and covered in coconut milk. It was sweet and refreshing. I’m sure it’s meant to be a dessert, but hey it was a hot day.

the menu

(the menu)

The menu was relatively limited. I mean, let’s face it, it’s a pho joint. You go there for pho – either chicken soup or beef soup. There were a few rice dishes (your usual broken rice, fried chicken with tomato rice, grilled lemongrass chicken, Vietnamese spring rolls) and a few drinks – but the pho here is the shining star. I suppose that’s why the place is called Pho 888 and not Broken Rice 888.

Vietnamese Beef Noodles - Pho

I ordered the rare sliced beef, which were pieces of raw beef placed over a bed of noodles with boiling hot broth ladled over them, which cooks them. It was perfect. Sure you could order the special: with tripe, meatballs, etc. And I do order them once in a while, but these come and go. To me, the rare beef always tops the charge (hence it being called ‘number 1′ at most pho restaurant).

Vietnamese chicken noodle soup (pho ga)

(chicken pho – with sliced chicken breast)

Josh went for the chicken equivalent, which was sliced chicken breast (which was well cooked through unlike the beef). He loved it of course. He isn’t much of an offal fan so he wouldn’t go for others. Personally, the only place in Melbourne that does chicken pho better than beef pho is Mekong. To me, beef over chicken anytime.

DSCN7061

I don’t really like to add anything to my pho – not even the basil or the beansprouts. Especially not chilli sauce and hoisin sauce. I believe the broth needs to be treated with respect. Sometimes I would add the chilli to give it heat but it’s the only ingredient that doesn’t mask the stock flavour. Josh likes his with a bit of basil and lemon and we both like to nibble on the beansprouts but never add it to the soup.

DSCN7062

And I always finish my soup.

 Pho 888 Box Hill, 552 Station Street, Box Hill

Pho 888 Box Hill, 552 Station Street, Box Hill VIC

Pho 888 Box Hill on Urbanspoon

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Written by Kat

November 2nd, 2009 at 7:27 pm

10 Responses to 'Melbourne Food Review: Pho 888 Box Hill, Box Hill'

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  1. LOL at your empty bowl! I never finish my soup!

    One thing about pho for me is that the soup must be hot enough to cook the raw beef.

    Have you tried pho with the Cambodian noodles? It is nice for a change from the rice noodles, but not many places serve those noodles.

    Rilsta

    2 Nov 09 at 9:20 pm

  2. hmmm…. 2nd time in 2 days I read about this place! Must be good. I guess I have to make my way to Boxhill soon.

  3. i have tried cambodian noodles although i cant say i like this more. i liked the cambodian prawn and pork noodles. its quite good.

    Kat @ Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

    4 Nov 09 at 4:28 pm

  4. really? wheres the other review?

    Kat @ Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

    4 Nov 09 at 4:28 pm

  5. aaaah, reminds me of my days at Box Hill TAFE years back. Yes, this place rocks. But yes, I always order the small pho as I could never finish off the soup!!!

  6. pfft… weak :P

    Kat @ Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

    5 Nov 09 at 7:45 pm

  7. Hmm… I wonder why I could get a bowl of Pho noodles here. Am starting to get hungry.

    Sue C.

    6 Nov 09 at 7:54 am

  8. there should be but im not too sure it would be as good. i tried vietnamese food in singapore – epic fail.

    Kat @ Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

    11 Nov 09 at 4:15 pm

  9. glad I stumbled upon your post…I’ve been looking for a good pho place ever since coming back from a holiday in Vietnam a few months ago – what’s your other top recommended place?
    I will def have to give Pho 888 a try :)

    Glutenshmooten

    11 Nov 09 at 6:27 pm

  10. you know, i don’t know its name! it’s this shop in springvale… ill have to go there and get a picture.

    Kat @ Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

    13 Nov 09 at 5:53 am

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