pho thanh tam sydney

Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam, Vietnamese, Chinatown

Best pho in the Sydney CBD

Noodlies, Sydney food blog’s favourite pho.

By Thang Ngo

Watch out Pho Pasteur, you once had the crown of the best pho in the City. Move over and hail the new king of pho in Sydney’s CBD.

While it may be in a food court, the owner has a long track record of serving up undiluted, slap-in-the-face authentic Vietnamese.

pho thanh tam sydney

I first met Phuoc Hoang two decades ago, his restaurant, Bo 7 Mon (seven delights of beef) Thanh Tam on Crown street, Darlinghurst was one of the first  to venture outside the Viet heartland of Cabramatta, Bankstown or Marrickville.  It was riotously popular and we were regulars.

He’s moved several times since then and we followed, ten years in Bankstown and five years at PLT (Phuoc Loc Tho), Canley Heights. A couple of years ago Hoang up sticks to a food court in the Hunter Connection and we lost contact.  I was working Artarmon at the time and it was impossible to get to him during office hours.

phuoc hoang bo 7 mon thanh tam

These days, my work is near Central and purely by chance, I stumbled upon Phuoc at his latest venture in the Market City food court.  He’s reverted back to the original name, Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam. Phuoc has shed a few kilos and is looking healthy and happy.

But back to the pho, a steal for $9, Phuoc is generous with the meat – even though the menu just says pho bo (beef pho), just ask for beef the way you like it, pho tai (raw), pho nam (cooked) or pho bo vien (beef balls).  But it’s the broth – sweet and rich from hours of slow cooking bones, onions, spices and an generous but not heavy-handed use of fish sauce. It makes Pasteur’s broth taste watered-down, lacking in depth.

bo 7 mon thanh tam menu

Ignore the $8.90, three choices bain-marie, cast your eyes upwards to a higher plane and you’ll be rewarded with humble home-style dishes like com bo luc lac (rice with marinated beef cubes), four cha gio (viet spring rolls) for a bargainous $6, banh xeo (savoury pancake) or go a little fancier with campfire prawns and beef – the meat arrives with flames still flickering around it.

Vietnamese drip coffee

Cafe fin (Vietnamese drip coffee)  is a magical experience for those who’ve returned from Vietnam, but it’s almost impossible for find in Australia.  Restaurants don’t serve cafe fin because it’s fiddly to make and clean, and the dripping takes up precious time.  Ignore the hectic food court pace, put your feet up and order yourself a coffee – they make it nong (hot) or cold with ice (da) – you’ll get a hit of heady, earthy caffeine which is equally balanced by an uppercut of gooey condensed milk richness.

Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam
Level 3, Market City
9-13 Hay St, Haymarket, Sydney




There are 10 comments

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  1. L

    I went there the other day and they had a link to your blog post right near the register!

    And yes, the broth is amazing. Best broth in pho I’ve ever had, I’m pretty sure XD

  2. Anthony

    I went there tonight (you can’t miss it as it’s the only Viet outlet shop in the food court area) and ordered the drip coffee and the beef pho. I forgot that this blog mentioned that you could order the beef raw or cooked. Anyway, the pho’s broth was clear and not too oily – a good first sign. Of course the beef broth is the most important part of the meal (and is how all phos are measured by) and I was glad to say that it was consistent throughout and very smooth and flavoursome right to the last drop. I also tasted notes of star anise and cinnamon.

    The lime wedge and bean sprouts looked and tasted fresh, but I was somewhat surprised that they did not offer straight off chili pieces to add to your broth (there were chili pieces in sauce which you could spoon into a separate dish).
    The beef pieces were slender and very thin and most importantly tasted sensational. They melted in my mouth and I didn’t even have to trim any fat off because they used the ‘good’ pieces.
    For some reason the drip coffee was transferred into a take-away cup but no matter because it was excellent.
    Definitely one of the best phos I’ve ever had in Sydney – and I’ve had pho from Cabramatta to Bankstown. I’m definitely going to try the other dishes if the pho is anything to go by.

    Do yourself a favour when you go there and gaze your eyes directly to the overhead boards. Give him a smile and a mention of this blog because his store now has a sign that says ‘Best pho in the CBD’ along with a link to this blog :D

  3. Lulu

    Going to head there today. Can’t wait! Miss my mums pho so always on the look out for pho that hasn’t been fancied up & overpriced because it’s suddenly become trendy


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