I’m happy to have my very first Sunset Park post, about the relatively new Pho Viet. Donny and I walked up to Sunset Park a few weekends ago, and randomly picked Pho Viet (since they have a pretty big selection of vegetarian items on the menu). I wasn’t thrilled with the cha gio chay, fried vegetarian spring rolls, but the bun xao chay was perfect for a hot summer day. It’s a giant bowl filled with room temperature rice noodles, combined with a mix of vegetables — some raw, some cooked, and some pickled. The whole thing is then topped with crumbled peanuts and crispy fried shallots. Unfortunately the provided vinegar is mixed with fish sauce, but there are plenty of condiments on the table to mix in with the noodles. I went for soy sauce, chile sauce, sriracha, and fermented bean paste. One of the great pleasures of Vietnamese food is the interplay between the different textures, temperatures, and flavors in one dish. The bun xao chay is a great way to experience that.
Pro tip: when dining at a Vietnamese restaurant, look for the word chay in the description. Those items should be vegetarian; sometimes items listed under the “vegetable” portion of the menu that lack the word chay are made with fish sauce.
Pho Viet — 4317B 8th Ave