IO – Unique Vietnamese dishes are preferred because of their distinctive taste and how it fits the tongue of Indonesian people. When visiting the city of Bandung, West Java, you can stop by one of the finest Vietnamese restaurants, the Pho Ngon Restaurant, Taste of Vietnam, to get the taste of authentic delicious Vietnamese cuisine. Pho Ngon Restaurant was established in 2017. At that time, the owner Shawn Tanudjaja opened the Pho Ngon restaurant in a shop in Mekarwangi, Bandung, West Java, with an initial capital of IDR 250 million.
Before opening the authentic Vietnamese restaurant, Do Nguyen Ha, Shawn’s wife who is indeed a native Vietnamese, learned how to cook a truly authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Since its establishment, this restaurant managed to get a great amount of interest from the people of Bandung, especially from the community around the housing complex.
They often enjoy quality time with their family by eating this authentic Vietnamese cuisine. “It turns out that it also matches our tongue. In the complex, initially around 80 percent of customers were of Chinese ethnicity, but then many people tried and found it to be a good fit. In fact, at this time, even teenagers are coming to this restaurant,” said Shawn.
For this reason, Shawn ventured to open a restaurant branch in Paris van Java (PVJ), a unique lifestyle mall, which is located in the center of Bandung. “(this is done) To introduce the restaurant, as many know by word of mouth, then, to add things up, we also invite food bloggers,” he explained.
When visiting Pho Ngon, visitors will be served Vietnamese specialties namely Pho. Pho is made from rice noodles, combined with beef soup broth that is processed for 12 hours. In this dish, Pho Bo, or traditional Vietnamese beef noodle soup, rice noodles are served with beef soup, then given a slice of beef with a choice of Australian, American and local meats. “As per the cuisine served, Pho is the name of the cuisine, Ngon means delicious. So Pho Ngon essentially means good dishes,” Shawn said.
Besides beef, Pho Ngon also provides a menu of typical Vietnamese dishes with chicken sauce and chicken meat, such as Pho Ga or Traditional Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. Pho Ngon also serves Pho Fron or Vietnamese Dry Chicken Noodle with sour, salty and fresh sauces.
Another new menu is Com Ga Xoi Mo, Vietnamese-style fried rice with special Vietnamese waterfall fried chicken. “Taste of Vietnamese cuisine is balanced, so it’s not too salty, sour or spicy,” he explained.
In addition, Pho Ngon also provides a bread baguette menu, which is a typical Vietnamese menu, different from the French baguette. The Vietnamese Baguette has thinner and crispier skin, and the inside of the bread is softer. There are several options for the traditional Vietnamese baguette menu, such as Banh Mi Bo or Beef Sandwich, Bahn Mi Ga or Chicken Sandwich, and Bahn Mi Cha Ca or Fish Cake Sandwich.
Pho Ngon also serves appetizers such as Goi Cuon (Vietnamese Fresh Spring Roll), Cha Ca Tu (Vietnamese Fish Cake), Coi Buoi Tom Thit (Vietnamese Shrimp Salad), and Pho Ngon Ga Chien (Fried Chicken Wings). As for dessert such as Durian Panna Cotta, Avocado Panna Cotta, Banh Flan or Vietnamese Style Crème Caramel, and Sua Chua or Vietnamese Homemade Yogurt.
The advantages of Pho Ngon cuisine are using natural and halal ingredients from Vietnam. Shawn uses ingredients such as spices, rice noodles, and spring roll skins imported directly from Vietnam. In addition, in this cuisine, the unique taste of Pho or Vietnamese Coriander leaves can be felt. Some vegetables are also taken from their own garden in Lembang, West Java. Shawn took Vietnamese vegetable seeds, then planted them in his garden.
As for the mainstay and favorite drinks are typical Vietnamese coffee, which is imported directly from their home country. Some drinks like Ca Pe Fring or Vietnamese Egg Coffee, Ca Phe Sua or Vietnamese milk Coffee. Other drinks such as Ca Da Me (Tamarind Crink), Ca Pe Cot Dua (Ice Coconut Coffee), Socola Cot Dua (Ice Chocolate Coconut), Tra Sen (Lotus Tea), and Lemon Juice. “The price of our food is very affordable, starting from IDR 20,000 to 45,000 so that it is affordable for all groups,” said Shawn.
To further give an authentic feel of Vietnam, Pho Ngon is designed in Vietnamese style with distinctive red and yellow colors. In PVJ, the restaurant is divided into two areas: indoor and outdoor. Entering the indoor room there is a Xeom or typical Vietnamese bajaj. Visitors will also see many hanging lanterns and fans imported directly from Vietnam.
While the outdoor bench which is modified from Vespa. “As for the design of the Pho Ngon Restaurant in Mekarwangi, Bandung, it is more homy because it is in a shop-house,” he said.
Pho Ngon restaurant in PVJ can accommodate 80 people, both indoors and outdoors. The restaurant, which is open from 10:00 to 22:00 WIB, is crowded with visitors on weekdays and weekends. During weekdays the visitors count is up to 200-250 people per day, while on weekends most family visitors can reach 400-450 people.
Pho Ngon, who had won the 2019 Indonesia Best Restaurant Awards, became a prospective restaurant for franchising. Since the end of 2018, Shawn has franchised his restaurant business. In early June 2019, a Pho Ngon franchise was established in Tasikmalaya, West Java, with a franchise fee of IDR 300 million for five years. (Kartika Indah K.)