In the Bronx, Southeast Asian Stirrings

The growing Southeast Asian presence in the Bronx, tracked for years by hungry hounds, has not brought the anticipated edible bounty—at least so far. But recent reports point to a nascent ethnic chow scene, including nice grandmotherly Vietnamese cooking at a tiny market and eatery called Phung Hung.

jdf describes a filling, satisfying bowl of pho tai (rare beef noodle soup) highlighted by rich, flavorful broth. Banh mi—meatball, grilled pork, or ham and ground pork—are fresh, well balanced, and generously spiked with cilantro and chile. Other good bets: shrimp summer rolls, grilled lemongrass chicken over rice, banana-rice sweets, Vietnamese coffee, and tart house-made lemonade. “I never suspected I could get a banh mi by the Grand Concourse,” writes nerdgoggles, who suggests you take your sandwich to nearby Poe Park and top it off with an icy dessert from one of the cart vendors.

This is a cozy, friendly joint with just four tables and limited amounts of food, so don’t go too late; you’ll find the best selection between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. A sign on the door indicates the business is up for sale, but DaveCook says not to worry; the owner wants to remain in charge of the cooking (which is done mostly by his elderly mother-in-law) while turning over the business end of things to someone else.

Phung Hung is part of the Southeast Asian enclave that has sprung up in the Fordham and Bedford Park neighborhoods. Across the street, Dave adds, Phnom Penh-Nha Trang Market offers a decent selection of Thai desserts, but no cooked foods. Like Battambang Market on Valentine Avenue, it is Cambodian-owned but offers a mix of Thai, Vietnamese, Filipino, and Chinese products.

Phung Hung Market [Bronx]
2614 Jerome Avenue (at E. 193rd Street), Bronx

Phnom Penh-Nha Trang Market [Bronx]
2639 Jerome Avenue (at E. 193rd Street), Bronx

Battambang Market [Bronx]
2654 Valentine Avenue (near E. Kingsbridge Road), Bronx

Board Links: Bronx recs: Up for a (cheap) adventure?
Bronx Cambodian?

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