Especially Pho You – Pho Phu Quoc Vietnamese Restaurant, Dickson

  • Fast service
  • Gluten free menu
  • Satisfying food

On Saturday night we were kid free and too lazy to cook so we headed to Dickson hoping to get a table at Hangari Kimchi, a Korean restaurant with gluten free marked on its menus and some decent online reviews. We turned up at 6:40pm but it turns out Hangari is pretty popular and we couldn’t get a table. We left (and I definitely intend to return and review), and headed to Dum Dickson for Indian instead. Alas, luck was not on our side! After a quick chat with the staff at Dum Dickson it became clear they didn’t understand food allergies enough to make me feel comfortable eating there. I explained I was coeliac and couldn’t eat gluten, and was told I couldn’t eat the Naan bread – no surprise there – but I could have the roti. This didn’t sound right to me, so I asked what the roti was made from, the answer was wheat flour. I explained that wheat contains gluten and Michael and I continued our search for food elsewhere!

Pho Phu Quoc Entrance

It was starting to look like we were in trouble, so we decided to go for something tried and tested – third time’s a charm as they say, so we headed to Pho Phu Quoc. We’ve been to Pho Phc Quoc a few times. They offer noodles, dumplings and tiny spring rolls that the kids like. Although I can’t eat those, they also have a separate gluten free menu.

It was around 7pm when we arrived and the place was busy. There were a lot of staff buzzing around and most tables were taken, but we headed to the counter and were pointed to a table for two on the left side of the room. Pho Phu Quoc is a large space split down the middle by a partition. On the right side are lots of tables and a large mural painted on the back wall of someone scarfing down a bowl of noodles. On the left side there is a bar style service counter at the front of the room and the kitchen at the back. You can see into the kitchen through a large window if you feel inclined. The chairs are mixed, I ended up on a surprisingly comfortable black plastic chair, and the tables are topped with a distressed looking brown lino – not pretty but functional. It doesn’t sound particularly nice when you describe it but it’s actually very bright and cheerful – there are coloured lanterns hanging in the windows and lots of art and plants throughout the room.

I already knew what I was going to eat as I have a couple of favourites, but I asked for the Gluten Free menu. It is important to know that although the items are gluten free, there is a risk of cross contamination with the deep-fried items so any coeliacs should be mindful. After a short wait, we ordered – Michael had the gluteny crispy skin chicken with cucumber with a portion of rice, and I ordered my two favourite dishes – the green paw paw salad with pork and prawns, and the vegetables and bean curd with rice noodles in beef soup – or vegetable pho – plus we got a coke each.

Michael’s crispy chicken

The wait was really short – I had my pho accompaniments of beansprouts, red chilli and lemon bought over straight away, and it was only about 10 minutes before the rest of the food came out. Michael’s crispy chicken contained gluten but it looked really good. The skin was crispy with a vinegary, sweet soy sauce. It contained a couple of bits of chicken gibbles (or cartilage) but it was yummy. 

The paw paw salad was delicious as usual! There was a pile of crispy strips of carrot, paw paw and onion with a generous amount of pork and prawns in heaps of sweet, minty sauce topped with peanuts. The sauce is what makes this salad. Although it’s sweet, you can taste the fish sauce in it and the mint makes it refreshing. 

Paw paw salad

The vegetable pho was delicious too! It was a nice big bowl of hot soup with heaps of rice noodles and mixed veggies. The broth is flavourful but also light and not overpowering and I find slurping down really hot soup super satisfying. The noodles were slippery but firm and didn’t disintegrate in the soup and the bean curd had a spongy, fluffy texture.

The bowl was also piled with veggies. They were crispy, fresh and just cooked enough. The mix of vegetables included carrot, cauliflower, broccoli and bok choy, and I piled on loads of beansprouts. The only downside was that I forgot to ask for no onion so there was a ton of onion piled in it that I had to scoop out! 

We ate until we were full but didn’t finish everything. It came to $65 in total and it was worth every cent! I like Pho Phu Quoc and I’m not really sure why it’s taken me so long to write about it – I enjoy the food, the service is quick and efficient, and I enjoy the environment. Highly recommended!

02 6249 6662
5 Badham St, Dickson, Canberra, 2602, ACT

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