Monday, November 09, 2009
vietnamese/pho: i recommend THANH KY
No. 1 and 6, Lane 6, Yongkang St, Taipei
(02) 2321 1579 and (02) 2322 2765
hours: 11:30am to 11:30pm
Kid friendliness: no high chairs spotted, but roomy in newer location
Visit reviewed: 9/30/2009
I never noticed Thanh Ky until about six months ago when I discovered Yong Kang Kou next door. I guess before I was always "business" about this area- going straight to Ice Monster (which is directly across from it) after a meal and then back on our way. But after realizing that there was Vietnamese pho to be eaten here, it was just a matter of time before I tried it.
On this day, my friend wanted to take me to lunch at La Cocotte, but when we tried to "walk in," they wouldn't seat us without reservations at 1pm on a weekday. So we racked our brain on where to go and we were close enough to Yong Kang Street to give it a try. I guess you can get your food to go from the outside street vendor portion, adjacent to a small sitting space or you could go right across the alley, to the newer, bigger dining area and kitchen, which is comfortably air conditioned.
The restaurant is clean and the service is efficient and fills up quickly after we sit down with larger groups of young people in the back of the restaurant, even though it's a bit after lunchtime.
The good sized menu is easy to browse, in English and Chinese and lots of pictures.
In addition to the beef broth pho, they also have pho with sate, curry or even Tom Yum Seafood soup. Individual hot pots are also available with vegetables, seafood and meat options.
Pho #1 is their Hanoi Beef Pho (NT$165), which is their "no. 1 selling pho on the menu. Awarded 2008 Taipei International New Row Main Festival contest runner-up." (Totally not my spelling by the way). Appetizers on the menu include fried Vietnamese spring rolls, Thai-style shrimp cakes, Pig's Ear salad, Sugar Cane prawns, stewed pork liver and Vietnamese steamed chicken thigh.
I get the Tiger shrimp salad roll (NT$90) to start and comes out fairly quickly. It's a decent size, served with two dipping sauces. Classic taste and gone quickly.
I don't realize until after I get my Stir fried Beef with Rice Noodle (NT$95) that it's slices of beef, not ground beef, which makes it a little messy to eat. The beef is a little dry/tough, especially in contrast to the fork tender beef of my friend's Hanoi Beef Pho. In terms of dry rice noodles, you can't beat the pork noodle dish from Pho Hoa.
The Hanoi Beef Pho is perfect for anyone who is a fan of the clear broth beef noodle soup and I can see why it was a contender in the annual beef noodle soup competition. The tendons and beef are cooked perfectly and the soup is a pleasure to drink, even on a warm afternoon. It has a slightly sweet quality, aromatic with the basil, onions and lime juice.
If it's not spicy enough, there's chili sauce on the side to adjust it to your liking.
So the next time a craving for pho hits you, you can give Thanh Ky a try. The family run business has been around for almost 30 years and is a great option for a quick meal in the area.
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