Pho is the new black, or at least that is what it seems to be given how it seems to be growing in popularity. It seems everyone has their own favourite place, and their own personal mix of how they put it all together.
This is one of the many great things about it though – the customisation you can do at the table. While what you are served is perfectly good, it is like a blank canvas. A blank, delicious, broth shaped canvas with noodles. You can then adjust the herbs, chilli, saltiness (via the hoisin or fish sauce), add a squeeze of lemon or lime for freshness and zest, and some sprouts for a little crunch. Everyone’s pho really is their own.
Thanh Thanh, located on Field Street near the Central Markets and Chinatown in the Adelaide CBD, has been on the radar for a little while. More than a few whispers had been uttered that this was somewhere to go for some of the good pho. This had to be investigated.
What you get with Thanh Thanh is a fairly simple, cleanly laid out Asian eatery. There are a few nicer touches in here, but it’s the aromas you get when you walk in that have you really excited. The place was pretty packed too, which is always a great sign.
Pho Tai was the order of the day, with a side of some fried wontons for good measure. A fresh lemon soda is the ubiquitous drink of choice.
Swiftly the food and drinks were brought to the table and it was immediately obvious this was going to be good. The beef was beautifully pink, just poaching through gently in the broth. The plate of herbs and goodies was generous, although the sprouts weren’t exactly what I would call crunchy. Minor detail though.
Its all about the broth of course, and this didn’t disappoint. It had great depth of flavour, some excellent balance of spices and earthiness – star anise, cinnamon and clove all there playing with the beef backbone. The broth was also notably more clear than most, which is how it traditionally should be.
The noodles deserve special mention, as these were easily the best I have had thus far. Just as with pasta, you can tell freshly made from dried. These were silky smooth and velvety in texture, testimony to the effort of (reportedly) making them in-house daily.
The beef also deserves a shout out too, and they use exclusively Angas beef. While this is a bit of a catch phrase these days, and you kind of go “ho-hum, yep…so what”, this beef was Quality. Yes, with a capital Q. It was melt in your mouth tender, beautifully thin and delicate. The serving amount was suitably generous too.
So – a great broth, amazing fresh noodles and some of the best beef you can get. No surprise that this bounces to the top of the unofficial and non-existent pho leaderboard. Probably. Everyone will have their own opinion on this of course!
There is a whole menu of other things if pho is not your thing, but it is hard to pass their pho by.
Thanh Thanh is located at 18 Field Street, Adelaide SA. P 08 8212 8788
Sun-Thu 11am-3pm, 5pm-9pm
Fri 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm