Vietnamese Pho: Thanh Ky (Taipei, Yong Kang Street)

November 12, 2011 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel by pacejmiller

This is the original store

One of my favourite areas to eat is the lanes and alleys surrounding Taipei’s wonderful Yong Kang Street (永康街).  There is a restaurant or cafe every couple of steps, and they all look so enticing!

On this particular night, we were feeling like Vietnamese Pho (beef rice noodle soup), and from our research, Yong Kang Street has a particularly good one called Thanh Ky (誠記越南麵食館).

Thanh Ky is easy to find.  Head into Yong Kang Street from Section 2 Xin Yi Road and it’s at the corner of the third right turn.  It’s even easier to find now because they have opened a second store just across the road.  We went into the old store first but it was slightly cramped, so the staff advised that we head to the new store, which was a great idea as it was air conditioned and looking newer and cleaner.

This is the new store

I must say upfront that I have high standards for Vietnamese Pho because I had been spoiled in Sydney by all the awesome Pho places they have there.

Thanh Ky‘s menu has Chinese, English and Japanese, so it’s easy to navigate.  The signature Pho is their ‘Hanoi Beef Pho’ ($165NT), which has some special Hanoi beef, different to what I was used to back in Sydney.  They also have an assortment of other noodle soup dishes, such as Tom Yum, Satay and Curry, as well as dried noodles and vermicellis with stir fried meats.  Of course, the usual entree dishes, beef salads and rice paper rolls are also available.

We went with the Hanoi plus a mixed entree comprising some deep fried spring rolls, deep fried sugar cane prawns and deep fried fish cakes.  Fried city, but they looked scrumptious, so what the heck.

The dishes came quickly despite the restaurant being relatively busy on this rainy night.  The Hanoi came with a wedge of lemon (lime?) and some hoisin + chilli sauce, exactly like they do it in Sydney.  The bean sprouts and mint were already placed in the soup, which smelled mighty fine and fragrant.

The Hanoi Beef Pho

The Hanoi beef was thick but easy to chew, and the beef balls and tripe provide added variety.  The rice noodles were cooked to perfection — not too rubbery and not too easy to break.  But as we all know, it’s the soup base that makes or breaks a Pho.  At Thanh Ky, the soup was pretty good.  I would call it slightly on the lighter side (see in the photo the broth is quite transparent), which might appeal to some — certainly it is healthier than the translucent soups layered with fat.  That said, there are extra sauces and chilli oil on each table which you can use to strengthen the flavour.

Add to the flavour or give it an extra kick with these condiments

As for the mixed entree, no complaints.  Even though they were all deep fried, none came across as lethally oily, and together with the sauce, became actually very appetising.

Mixed entree!

To be honest, while Thanh Ky was fairly good by my lofty standards, it’s not the best Pho I’ve had in Taipei.  I’ll have to review that place soon.

7.5 out of 10!

Details:

Thanh Ky (誠記越南麵食館)

Address: No. 1 and 6, Lane 6, Yong Kang St, Taipei
Phone: (02) 2321 1579 and (02) 2322 2765
Opening Hours: 11:30am-11:30pm
Price Range: $100-$200 (depending on what you get and if you share entrees)
Website: http://www.thanhky.com/