Monday, November 07, 2011

Pho Pasteur, Emperor's Puff and Sweeties Delight, Haymarket

I think Pho Pasteur was the first place the BFF and I ever went to for a meal together - back in the 90s so I'm talking like a million years ago. Back then I was living on the North Shore "darling" and the BFF was worried that my North Shore sensibilities couldn't handle this grungy little Vietnamese diner.  To be fare I was squatting in my sisters sunroom as I couldn't afford to live anywhere else - a cheap and cheerful meal was exactly what I was after.

Fast forward quite a few years and I swear to the food Gods above that Pho Pasteur has not changed one little bit - the same worn tiled floor, batteried laminate tables and vinyl covered chairs.  And the menu looks unchanged as well - which is fine. Why mess with simple perfection I say?

A meal here always starts with the obligatory silver pot of free tea.  Not a bad drop and tastes just as good hot as it does cold - which inevitably happens when you're gossiping away over a meal with friends.

First up we order a serve of Seafood Spring Rolls ($10.00 for six).  Before anything else arrives on the table a plate arrives bearing a tumble of lettuce leaves, mint and bean sprouts (that's it in the background of this shot). Moments later the super crispy spring rolls arrive - yum!

Step 1: various bits and bobs arrive at the table

Step 2: a plate of irresistibly crispy spring rolls arrive shortly after

Step 3: wrap your spring roll in the lettuce leaf (and other bits and pieces), dip in the sauce provided and ENJOY!
Because the weather has been a bit all over the place lately, and Sydney is in a "cold spell" on the night of this dinner (plus I was feeling a bit "under the weather") I decide a bowl of steaming hot Pho with Grilled Beef  ($10.50 for a small bowl) is in order.

Now my Aussie friends I have it on good authority that a) Pho will cure anything that ails you and b) it's pronounced more like the word "Fur" not "Foe". Pho/Fur can also come with thinly sliced Raw Beef that cooks quickly in the hot broth, but I've decided that I prefer the Grilled Beef much more.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to dunk the grilled beef into the Pho, or just eat it as a side I do both (best of both worlds approach). The second plate of goodies that arrived at our table early on is for the Pho...a squeeze of lemon, some bean sprouts and Vietnamese Basil all go into the soup before you begin slurping away.

The BFF goes for a very healthy and refreshing bowl of Grilled Beef with Vermicelli ($10.00).  Whilst the Grilled Beef that is wrapped around grilled onion is delicious, it is the hidden nubbins of deep fried pork fat that really put a smile on my face.  Pork Fat! Deep Fried! What could be better? So really, this dish is not that healthy after all. Whatever!

Seeing as our so called "healthy dinner" descended into a pork fat love fest we decide it's only fitting to go in search of something sweet to end our night on. I've always been intrigued by the little hole-in-the-wall on Dixon Street selling "Emperor's Puff". Normally there is a long queue stretching back from this tiny window, but this night the joint was deserted (or desserted) so we buy four of these delectable little custard puffs to see all the fuss is about. At $1.00 for 4 this must be the cheapest sugar hit in Sydney.

Caution: the custard filling is SERIOUSLY hot, I swear I lost a layer of skin off the roof of my mouth. Ouch!
Now whilst the Emperor's Puff were good, the BFF's sweet tooth still wasn't satisfied so we went in search of more sugar. We were headed for Meet Fresh when we spotted the "same same but different" Sweetie's Paradise on Dixon Street.

The BFF decides to order something hot (given that his dinner was a cold salad) and order a bowl of Almond Soup and Black Glutinous Rice ($4.70). I'm not normally a fan of rice pudding type dishes, but this was actually really tasty (but way too filling). I quite liked my foray into Herbal Jelly at Meet Fresh to go for the Mango Grass Jelly ($4.99).  The Grass Jelly is really quite flavourless, but weirdly refreshing at the same time.

Pho Pasteur is at 709 George Street, Haymarket.

Pho Pasteur on Urbanspoon

You can buy Emperor's Puff from the hole-in-the-wall window at Emperor's Garden Cake and Bakery in Chinatown (96-100 Hay Street {though the bakery is actually on Dixton Street}, Haymarket).

Emperor’s Garden Cake & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Sweetie's Paradise is at 45 Dixon Street.

Sweeties Paradise on Urbanspoon


  1. oh i really like the spring rolls at Pho Pasteur! eating it with lettuce makes it SOOO much healthier! hehehehe haven't had an emperor's puff in such a long time!

  2. aaah the wonder of pork fat.... and deep fried.

    pho pasteur is so dependable.

  3. i love pho. i wouldnt mind having it everyday for the rest of my life! isweety house down the road are better than sweeties paradies imo

  4. omg pasteur cracks me up!! ages ago, 2009 i think, we went there and noticed that on their menu on the wall, they spelled Noodles in about 5 different ways.. Noodle, Nooodl, Nooddle, Noodlle.. I dont know, it was hilarious though.

  5. Pho Pasteur was the first place that CB and I had our first meal together too. Lol I was living in the North Shore at the time too. Love the spring rolls too and the number 12 pork chop rice with the fried egg :)

  6. love love love PHO!

    But has anyone noticed that this place can sometimes smell like a toilet? Kind of puts me off.

    I am crazy about the emperor puff but need to practice patience as well. I always myself with custard burn marks!

  7. Yum, those spring rolls look seriously good!

  8. I've been wanting to try Pho Pasteur pretty much since I came to Sydney for the first time but with so many restaurants in my area haven't had the opportunity yet. I need an excuse!

  9. Pho/fur is the BEST to have when its cold or your feeling sick. A little pork fat doesnt hurt either ;)

  10. I haven't been to Pho Pasteur for a few years and it's just one of those places that never change, hey?

    I love grilled beef or pork because of all the charred, caramelly bits!

  11. ah good old pho pasteur, i've never tried the grilled beef pho but like their other stuff. emperor puffs are the BEST! so cheap too =D

  12. pho pasteur at parramatta is so much better but mm love a good bowl of pho or grilled beef!

  13. YUUUUUUUM pho pho pho! I ALWAYS order it when I go for Vietnamese. And I love Asian desserts, I wish I had the opportunity to try more.

  14. The Spring Rolls look yum! Love the addition of fresh veg to the mix. Never had Pho with grilled beef but would probably give it a try on one of our non-vegetarian days.


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