UPDATED December 05, 2008
Location: SW 10th, between Alder and Washington
Description: A Vietnamese cart serving rice noodle bowls, grilled dishes, a Bahn Mi sandwich variety or two, a couple of lesser known Vietnamese options and the great soup export known as Pho. Huong’s has also recently expanded their vegetarian menu. There are now an equal number of vegetarian and meat focused entrees.
Once upon a time I got stuck in Hanoi, Vietnam for an extended, yet unplanned stay. The story of this little adventure is long and complicated, but the end result? I fell in love with this ancient city, met some wonderful locals who adopted me as their friend and I absolutely fell head over heals in love with the food. I especially loved discovering some of the thousands of street stands, carts and humble little huts serving up some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, anywhere.
Huong’s reminds me of the little food stands I came to love in Hanoi, and in subsequent trips, other parts of Vietnam as well. Especially the Pho, found at street stands from Sapa on the border of China all the way to the Southern tip of the Mekong delta. Pho is eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and as a late night snack all throughout the country, features many regional variations on a theme, and is cheap, filling and healthy. It’s the perfect cart food really, and I’m excited that Huong’s is serving it.
Huong’s offers three types of pho: pho ga (chicken), pho bo (beef) and vegetarian pho. All come as a generous portions that could easily provide 2 meals for less ravenous appetites. Huong’s phos have quite aromatic and richly flavored broths, contain a good ratio of broth to rice noodles and are served with the accompaniments of lime, jalapeno peppers, basil and bean sprouts as well as the standard hot and savory sauces. For the price of $6.00, Huong’s pho certainly stands up to most others in Portland. My one beef (no pun intended) is that Huong’s doesn’t offer a nice ceramic or plastic bowl to eat the stuff at at their little table in situ, but the large paper carton they do provide works just fine. However, the tiny little teaspoons provided with the wooden chopsticks and paper napkins do not hold more than an eyedropper of broth at a time and make picking up the noodles, as per Asian noodle soup slurping custom, impossible. Huong’s, please invest in some Asian style soup spoons. My preference given their current soup spoon situation, is to take the pho back to my office where I can transfer it into my own large pho bowl to be eaten with my own chopsticks and spoon.
Also, Huong’s figured out that Portland has a proud, loud and strong vegetarian and vegan community and is now offering, in addition to vegetarian pho, vegetable and tofu stir fried dishes over rice or noodles, a lemongrass and tofu dish, and a hearty vegetarian curry. Yes, I checked and these are all “true” vegetarian dishes in so far as they do not contain the fish sauce or fish oil that is ubiquitous to many vietnamese dishes.
I’m happy to report quality is top-notch and Huong’s seems to have hit their stride making thema pretty nifty new addition to the downtown cart scene. I know Huong’s will become a popular stop for hungry lunch eaters looking for healthy, quick and cheap Vietnamese food.
2 salad rolls – (shrimp, pork and vegetables) – $3.00
2 egg rolls (pork, shrimp and vegetables) – $3.00
Bahn Mi Sandwich -$2.50
Pho Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup – $6.00
Pho Bo – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup – $6.00
Rice noodle bowl (with grilled lemongrass chicken, vegetables and egg rolls) – $6.00
Vegetarian Dish – tofu with mixed vegetables over rice – $6.00
Stir Fried Egg Noodle – with pork, shrimp and vegetables or vegetarian version- $6.00
Sweet and Sour Soup with fish balls, squid, pineapple and other vegetables. Served with Rice – $5.00
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:00-5:00
Location: SW 10th near Alder and Washington