Our favourite Vietnamese home cook now has a venue where customers can get a good lunch filled with genuine Vietnamese flavours: Pho King is a stall in a popular SS2 kopitiam, serving pho & more amid a sea of Malaysian chicken rice, chee cheong fun & char kuey teow.
Pho King showcases the work of Vietnamese-born Hoa, who's been running a private kitchen called Cute Ball Kitchen with her Malaysian husband Teoh in their PJ home since early 2014. This new stall represents their effort to bring some of Hoa's cooking to customers in a convenient & affordable form, while maintaining her painstaking insistence on top-notch standards. Work for the signature pho starts a day in advance, with Hoa using beef bones & oxtail to build a recipe that shines with slurp-worthy rice noodles in a light, sweet broth, completed with tender meat & lots of aromatic herbs. RM12, a reasonable price for a bowl that relies on Australian beef for a fuss-free, pleasantly satisfying midday meal.
Other platters continue to channel the comfort-food essence of Vietnamese street fare. The classic bun cha is hearty & fulfilling, with savoury grilled pork partnered with vermicelli, fresh herbs, vegetables & dipping sauce for an appetisingly nourishing ensemble with a lively balance of tangy-sweet flavours. RM11.50; bonus points for the use of antibiotic-free pork.
Our ultimate favourite is a dish we first encountered at Cute Ball Kitchen & were thrilled to have again - braised pork belly, as sumptuously caramelised as ever, indelibly luscious & deliciously warming, brimming with rich, clean flavours, served with rice & kitchen-made pickles. RM11.50; this one makes us really happy. Note though that the braised pork is a rotating dish available only on some weekends, along other specials such as fresh summer rolls. Thanks to Pho King for having us over.
NOTE: Pho King has moved to SS2 Chow Yang Kopitiam, 44-48, Jalan SS2/10, Petaling Jaya, as of Oct. 15, 2016.
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