It's been Pho' weather for us the last few weeks so we've been going to Phoung Trang on Convoy a few times a week. I usually have the #51 (large bowl of Pho') and my wife has the Pho' with Rare Steak and Brisket, usually some spring rolls (Chili Rolls are great - at least they don't call them Vegetarian Rolls any more - I've spied sausage and shrimp in these) or a crepe (very inconsistent, tasty once in a while, greasy and bland other times), or maybe the Beef Stew with extra bread (Pho Tau Bay is tastier, but the beef is inedible - also what probably makes it taste so good is the layer of fat on the top of the stew...Fat Alert!!!)
So we walk in and decide what the heck....let's go for the Bo 7 Mon...7 course of beef, especially since our favorite waiter is there (can't remember his name, but he's the friendly bloke, who always says "Hello my friend...") he can sort of guide us through. I don't really know the names of what we ate, so I'm sure someone "in the know" can fill us in.
First off, there is probably enough food for 2 normal appetites, or 1 really hungry hound.
The waiter brought a little rack and lit the gel under to start up a flame. He placed a little pot of water on top and gave us a plate of veggies (pickled shallots, julienned carrots, cucumber, in addition to the usual lettuce, cilantro, and mint), a plate of spring roll wrappers, and a little plate consisting of 4 thin slices of raw beef and sliced onions - following intructions we basically boiled and steamed the beef and made our own spring rolls with the provided veggies - the pickled shallots and cucumber made this dish especially tasty.
The second course was again thinly sliced raw beef, this time minced ginger, garlic, and peanuts were sprinkled on top. A little griddle was place on the flame and we were given a small pat of butter, and basically fried our steak and again made our own spring rolls - these had a much richer taste.
Dishes 3-6 were then served all together. They consisted of 4 meatballs wrapped in either some kind of leaf or nori - these were my favorite, almost a sausage like taste with a hint of sweetness; 4 slices of marinated and cooked beef wrapped around scallions, my wife enjoyed, and 4 meatballs that had a sausage like flavor - according to our waiter they were to be eaten on top of shrimp chips that were served along with these courses. The 6th dish served with this, was an omelette type item with shiitake mushrooms and beef, unfortunately I'm unable to report on this...my wife gobbled it down before I was able to taste it...guess it must have been pretty good! The last item is a rice porridge (congee/jook) with slices of beef and flavoered with Nam Pla and thin slices of ginger. I enjoyed this much more than my wife who was rasied eating the traditional Chinese congee and has a hard time adjusting to this flavor. I thought the ginger in the porridge was the key, basically adding a palate cleansing aspect to the meal.
Overall, an interesting experience, some of the items were very salty, but tasty. Well worth the $14.95 for two people.