I love looking at the shiny bikes in the Specialized store on Milligan Street but on this occasion I was distracted by the buzz inside the newly opened Vietnamese kitchen, Mama Tran. Mama Tran is a vibrant place, busy with city suits clutching steaming bowls of Vietnamese Pho. I’m a huge fan of Pho, so I joined the lunch queue stretching half the length of the store. Don’t be put off by the queue at Mama Tran because this place serves their noodles doubly quick!
After a brief wait I collected my own bowl of steaming Pho Tai, a rice noodle soup with rare beef. I like my Pho Tai garnished with lots of fresh mint and a squeeze of lemon. Plentiful proportions of popular side garnishes are available in the restaurant’s self service areas to add to your dish. Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam and is associated with the city of Hanoi. I tried my first bowl of Pho at a street stall in Hanoi and ate it obsessively during my trip to Vietnam. The Pho at Mama Tran meets my Hanoi benchmark. The broth had an authentic beef flavour complimented by red onion and a generous serve of sliced rare beef. Since this first visit I’ve been back to taste the Pho Ga (rice noodles with chicken) and it is a similarly good Pho.
Mama Tran has a diverse and well-priced menu. They serve a range of noodle dishes, broken rice and pork (Com Tam), Vietnamese style baguettes (Bahn Mi), rice paper rolls (Goi Cuon), salads (Goi) and offer a daily special. I just can’t get past the Pho. If you want to try your hand at making Pho or just need to stock up on ingredients, a small section of Mama Tran is dedicated to Asian groceries. Unfortunately Mama Tran only trades Monday to Friday between 7am – 4pm, with the kitchen closing at 2.30pm. For those who don’t work in the CBD it’s a perfect reason to take a mental health day.
A must try for lovers of Pho!
Sidenote – Natalie (aka PFJ) would just like to say a very special thank you to special guest blogger (and lovely girlfriend), A. xx