Phở is one of those things that not only warms the heart, but just makes your day better. It should be quick, it should be fresh, it should have a deep flavourful broth, there should be herbs, and you sure as hell don’t have to pay Fat Duck dollars to get one of the best bowls of soup you’ve ever tasted. That may sound easy enough, but somewhere between the fresh herbs and the deep flavourful broth, many restaurants attempting this dish miss something. Which explains, why after all these noodle slurping years, I don’t deviate often from the lovely Tau Bay.
Located in a prime Chinatown spot, King Noodle House welcomed us with a friendly hello and the option to sit anywhere. Like so many good dive spots, King Noodle House doesn’t do plastic money; cash only. This is a good thing in my mind. A quick delivery of jasmine green tea gave us something to sip on while we looked over the menu. With enough options to appease any phở fan, we eventually settled on a large Rare Steak, Well-Done Flank, Brisket, Tendon and Tripe (Phở Tái, Nạm, Gầu, Gân, Sách) and a small Chicken (Phở Ga).
The herb and sprout plate arrived promptly after our order and included Thai basil, sawtooth, lemon, and chiles. The sprouts were fresh and the herbs were in pretty good condition. So often then not, these little details are in a sad state or missed altogether. And really, who wants to put some weak ass sprouts into their bowl of soup. In good phở style, the big bowls of soup arrived quickly and smelled beautiful. Both bowls were plentiful in meat, with one exception for me. There was lots of brisket, flank, tendon and delicious tripe, but very little rare beef.
The contrast in soup was a great example to me of how they care about what goes on the table. The chicken broth shined in a way that the beef didn’t, and vice versa; exactly what should happen with different protein choices. Combined with the perfectly cooked bowl of noodles, this bowl of goodies added up to one really successful meal. It did everything I want from a bowl of phở, and that’s reason enough to start putting King Noodle House into the rotation.