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Phung Hoang (The Mythological Bird "Phoenix" In English), Bun Bo Hue Specialists in Saigon West - Eden Center

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Phung Hoang is a hole in the wall with a small menu but it has some pictures on the menu! I think the specialty here is bun bo hue but their picture of a duck salad caught my eye. It looks like kind of like this. The duck was poached and doesn't have alot of flavor. The salad is a bunch of shredded veggies, of which I think I only identified carrots. Maybe there's some cabbage and papaya in there. Everything is dressed in a fish sauce based dressing and there's an additional bowl of sauce for you. A small order was about $12 but there's a decent amount of duck in there. As typical, a very limited menu, cash only, and no English guidance.

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This place is in the mall part, Saigon West it's called, I think.

Went again. Hard to describe, because the menu is so limited. I don't eat beef, so coudl not have their specialty dish (bun bo hue), so I got the fish paste stew noodle soup. We also got a grilled pork on top of noodles dish. I'm really struggling because I don't know Vietnamese food well, they don't speak any English at all. The sides they gave with the soup were fresh - basil, lime, bean sprouts. The sauce they gave with the pork dish was tasty, fish sauce based. They don't take credit card (there is an ATM down the hall).

The soup isn't like Pho, it tastes different but good. It wasn't spicy, but I think their beef soup is pretty spicy. This is probably a really unhelpful review. I'd go back to try one of the other soups, I think there is another seafood one. There are interesting looking salads, but they were out of that. The meal was super cheap for a lot of food. There is a bakery in the mall that has fresh smoothies, all their stuff looks amazing, too.

I really need a Vietnamese friend to help me order properly at Edens Center. Totally flying blind, like a teenager making out for the first time, just groping about awkwardly, with no real knowledge of how to attain any sort of satisfaction.


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This is probably a really unhelpful review. 

The "grilled pork on top of noodles" dish was probably Bíºn Thịt NÆ°á»›ng, and is ubiquitous, even around here.

When I was first traversing Eden Center, I didn't know a word of Vietnamese either, so instead of getting overwhelmed, I would write the name of whatever I ordered down, then come home and transliterate each word so I'd have a full understanding of what it was that I ordered. That's fine for short-term memory, but for me, it generally won't stick in long-term memory unless I do something unrealistic, like try and remember the words each day for a week, so in addition, I'd force myself to use word association, and memorize one (and only one) word per visit - anything more ambitious than that, and I'd end up quitting because it's too difficult. After a dozen-or-so visits, things start to look familiar, and before you know it, you're reading menus like a champ. Bíºn Bí² Huế, for example, consists of three words, the first two of which are in just about every Vietnamese restaurant, and should be two of the first words you fixate in your long-term memory (you'll notice that Bíºn is in all three of the dishes I mention here; I remembered Bí² by thinking of Bo Jackson). When you put the first two together, they're often (usually?) followed by the third since this particular dish originated in the vicinity of that village. If only I were so disciplined with Mandarin, sigh, and pronunciation is another issue entirely.

I suspect that yours is the first thing written about Phung Hoang, and certainly about Bíºn Chí  Cí¡ (your fish-paste noodle soup), in 2014 - it is a very helpful review, and I wish we'd get 100 more like it each day. Thanks for having taken the time to write - reviews like yours are the very backbone of this community.

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