Pho Phuong
By YP Contributor

Matriarch of Pho

Only a truly amazing chef can name a restaurant after herself. Phuong, or Helen if you prefer, did.

Thanks to the delicious, classic bowl of beef noodle soup, Pho Phuong has been firmly rooted at Brock and Dundas Street West since 2006. The restaurant has been faithfully staffed and managed by Phuong’s family ever since she brought her family and culinary skills to Canada more than two decades ago. Raised in a family of 10 children, Phuong learned to cook, en masse, early. Memorizing family recipes from her grandmother and mother, she’s earned a dedicated clientele for her authentic food. “She travels back to make sure that she’s keeping in touch with true Vietnamese cuisine,” says manager Diana Zhou-Nguyen.

When you eat, you come together. Here at the restaurant, we always take a moment to sit down and eat a meal together. - Diana Zhou-Nguyen, manager
Pho Phuong, Pho, noodle soup, spring rolls, pad Thai, savory pancake, broken rice

Those Who Work Together, Eat Together

Helen's drive to open the restaurant really came from the love of family and the bond that they share over food: “She always wanted a place where her family and friends could come and eat together,” says Diana. “So having this place is perfect.” Food and eating are so central to family and friendship at this restaurant that every day, the entire staff breaks to sit down and eat a meal together. “Everyone is so busy,” says Diana, “but when you eat, you come together. Here at the restaurant, we always take a moment to sit down and eat a meal together.”

Pho Phuong opened as much as a meeting place as a business, but now has a faithful clientele of Torontonians from diverse ethnic backgrounds. "Some people come to eat here for both lunch and diner!" says Diana.

Pho Phuong, Pho, noodle soup, spring rolls, pad Thai, savory pancake, broken rice

Fresh Mint and Pancakes

“Everyone has a style of soup they like best,“ Diana explains. “A lot of Vietnamese cuisine depends on your personal taste for either herby, salty or gingery.” Luckily, there are a variety of tastes to choose from. One favourite menu item is the Vietnamese pancakes, which are made of coconut milk and turmeric, then pan-fried to come out thin, crispy and half-moon-shaped, then served with shrimp, pork and bean sprouts with a side of lettuce, basil and mint. If you hop in for a meal during the summer months, you’ll get Phuong’s homegrown mint. “In the summer, people come for the mint and get the pancakes,” laughs Diana.

Pho Phuong, Pho, noodle soup, spring rolls, pad Thai, savory pancake, broken rice
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