After traveling to Southeast Asia together (and having our fair share of “noodle soup”), my friend Brie and I have been searching high and low to recreate some of our favorite food moments from our adventure.
So when Brie suggested we try a pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) place near her house, we jumped on the opportunity to see if this place came anywhere close to some of the dishes we encountered during our trip.
Off to Pho & Spice in Watham, Massachusetts we went. In true Moody Street fashion, it was close to impossible to find parking—but we did, and the time it spent to do so allowed us to get truly ravenous. As soon as we entered the restaurant, we knew we were in the right spot: It was tiny (with only about 10-12 tables) and the small tables were pushed together for a truly communal dining experience—just like in Laos and Vietnam!
We were seated in the corner of the front of the restaurant and quickly grabbed the menu to see what our options were. We decided to start with the crispy spring rolls, filled with ground chicken, shrimp, carrot, taro root, and onion, and served with a special Vietnamese sauce (these little rolls were essential to our Southeast Asian diet on the trip). We also wanted to try the Banh Xeo, which is a Vietnamese crepe made with shrimp, pork, onion, scallion, and bean sprouts.
And for the main event, of course we needed to go with the pho. Brie chose the Pho Ga, which consisted of chicken noodle soup, shredded chicken, and aromatic chicken broth. And I went with the Duck Noodle Soup.
First came the crepe, which was not at all what we were expecting. It resembled an omelet with the pork, shrimp, and veggies falling out from the opening on the side. It was light, fluffy and much more scrumptious than we thought it was going to be. It’s definitely worth trying. Then came the crispy spring rolls. This was an essential item in Brie’s diet on the trip. They were crispy with a delightful filling of chicken and shrimp. There was definitely a hint of something we couldn’t quite put our finger on, but they were perfect when dipped in the sweet sauce.
Then came our pho. Brie’s chicken version tasted just like how we remembered it from our trip. She opted to remove the cilantro after being inundated with the herb on our trip, but the flavor was still perfect. My duck noodle soup was heavenly. I tried the broth first and immediately noticed how sweet it was. After having Brie try it for herself, we decided it had to
be nutmeg or cinnamon. The duck was served on the bone in the soup, so it took some skill to try and work it off of the bone with my chopsticks, but the meat was tender and delicious. Be warned: Brie had the option of three sizes of soup, however my soup only came in one size: gigundo. Be prepared to take some home!
The perfect ending to our meal would have been our favorite dessert from the trip: Coconut sticky rice with fresh mango, but sadly, Pho & Spice doesn’t offer dessert. But that was okay … we were stuffed anyway.
Pho & Spice has been the closest restaurant we’ve found with dishes that taste so similar to what we experienced on our Southeast Asian adventure. We are definitely heading back.