Pho-ckon: Cafe Hoang

After a horrendous morning of a 5.30am flight followed by several questionable choices during our travels, we made it back to Norah’s apartment at 9.30am truly exhausted from our Boston jaunt. We immediately went to sleep. Brett later commented that we sounded like hilarious old ladies on arrival: “oh I can’t wait to get in bed,” “I didn’t know there was a tiredness like this”, “arbelgarble”.

We awoke at 4.30pm as new shiny, happy people. We went to get groceries and to briefly walk around the neighbourhood, then picked up Brett to go grab food.

Norah suggested Vietnamese food. I am unconvinced by Vietnamese food, but also averse to making decisions moreso, so off we went.

One of Norah’s bosses is Vietnamese (the other is South Korean, in case you wanted to colour the whole picture) and they took her out to dinner at Cafe Hoang as they simply had to show her the good Vietnamese place in her neighbourhood. Andersonville, or Little Vietnam: when presented with too much choice one can get overwhelmed and make bad decisions as a result.

Norah is so keen on Cafe Hoang that she only ever orders takeout and tries to hide  herself from view when doing so, in order that people won’t look in through the window and decide against dining there because white people go there (true life when making Asian dining decisions).


Norah ordered the Bun Bo Hue without the pig’s trotters (saying no to the finer things in life), I ordered some kind of chicken with crispy noodles that was one of the more appetising pictures on their wall, and Brett ordered something else too. His meal came way earlier than hours.

A mango drink while we waited. Far more delicious than a simple mango drink should be. Probably laden with sugar. A perfect cold drink for four degree weather.

Home to eat.

I have no idea what London’s Vietnamese restaurants do, but they make their food wrong. Norah and I shared our meals. On returning to London and doing some Googling, I realised that I had eaten the exact same dishes previously, but Cafe Hoang did them right and made them come alive. The flavours were vivid. The portions were large. I savoured, then slurped. The bun bo hue is their specialty and was my favourite of the two dishes, though the chicken dish added a freshness and crunch to counterbalance the richness and slop (an unattractive word for an attractive dish) of the bun bo hue.

Little Vietnam know their food, and Vietnamese food returns to my good books.




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