Words by Rebecca Lee, Photos by Samudera Phoa
Terriers in East Campus, rejoice! A new Vietnamese restaurant specializing in pho and other Vietnamese dishes opened in Kenmore Square this past December. Branching out from its original location in Quincy, Pho Countryside serves a wide range of Vietnamese dishes including spring rolls, pho, vermicelli, and rice plates, just to name some.
My friend and I visited the restaurant for lunch on a cold and windy Sunday—a perfect day for some hot soup and noodles. As I have already been to the restaurant multiple times, I decided to order something different than my usual chicken pho, so I ordered the grilled pork vermicelli (bun thit nuong). My friend got the special combo pho (pho dac biet) and fresh spring rolls (goi guon) for us to share. As we waited for our food, I immediately noticed the artwork and background music that all made me felt like I was back home. Just as I was telling my friend how apt the cheesy slow jazz playing the background was, the fresh spring rolls arrived.
The dish came with two rolls each cut in half for easier consumption and peanut sauce for dipping. Vermicelli, shredded lettuce, mint leaves and pork slices are wrapped in the rice paper The spring rolls tasted light and fresh, which complemented really well with the creamy peanut sauce. Before we could finish the appetizer, our main dishes arrived.
The special combo pho was bigger than I had expected. The “special combo” included eye round steak, flank, brisket, tendon, and tripe along with onions, spring onions, cilantro and other fresh greens you wish to add. Stealing a bit of my friend’s pho, I had a taste of delicious and well-cooked rice noodles infused with the warm and flavorful broth.
Dry vermicelli is one of my go-to’s when I crave something more savory. This dish comes with vermicelli (obviously), fresh bean sprouts, shredded lettuce and carrots, cucumbers, and marinated radish topped with grilled pork. Fish sauce comes as a side so you can add it to your desired liking! The fish sauce gave a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the dish that balanced well with the grilled pork. Personally, I do not normally add too much fish sauce as I like to enjoy the more savory flavor of the pork with the vermicelli and fresh vegetables. Feel free to ask for more fish sauce if you like the extra kick of sweet and sour in your bowl. The portions here are all pretty large so be prepared to eat up!
The previous time I visited Pho Countryside, I was craving some chicken pho because I was recovering from a stomach bug. The bowl of chicken noodle soup definitely satisfied my cravings but was also light and simple enough for my stomach to handle. Like all of its other pho, it came in a big bowl of broth and noodles with onion, spring onions and cilantro. The broth was lighter than that of the special combo pho and the noodles just as delicious. I definitely recommend this dish for anyone who wants to try something lighter or simply want to try a different type of pho.
If you ever want some affordable, homey and tasty Vietnamese food, swing by Pho Countryside and try out this new eatery right by campus!
485 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215