Since Jessalyn of Feed Me Now Brisbane started her quest to find the best pho in Brisbane (no mean feat, I can assure you), I’ve been developing a hankering for Vietnamese cuisine during the week and started hunting around. I heard good things about Little Saigon Grill and shuffled over several times to check out their menu.
Located in the Rowes Arcade food court on Edward Street, Little Saigon Grill is only open for lunch and offers a huge selection of options to the hungry city office worker.
From the left end, rolls are prepped with fresh veg and selection of proteins, while a chilled display houses a variety of rice paper spring rolls lay on trays in the center of their operations. A bain marie holding several cooked dishes all prepped and ready to be dished out sits at the far right end. And two cashiers take orders from the long queues of hungry lunch hunters every lunch hour.
Although Little Saigon Grill offer the vermicelli salad in several varieties, the crispy pork with vermicelli salad is my favorite with the crispy pork crackling. The sweet and sour dressing is served separately, so you’re welcome to pour in as little or as much as you like into the salad of vermicelli and fresh shredded vegetables, including carrot and lettuce.
However I was not impressed with Little Saigon Grill‘s special pho.
The broth is quite different from other phos – its thick muddiness is rich with bone marrow flavour and spiced with ginger, star anise, cassia bark and cardamom. The amount of fresh rice noodles is modest, and I found it difficult to pick up with chopsticks. The noodles fell apart too easily from being overcooked, making lunch a clean affair rather tricky.
Served with a thick peanut tamarind sauce, one gets spoilt for choice with the range of Little Saigon Grill‘s rice paper rolls. These are all pre-prepared on trays and covered with cling wrap to prevent them from drying out in the chiller. They’re an inexpensive lunch option if you’re not hungry enough for a hot meal or on the go.
The rolls are fresh, though I found the rice paper Little Saigon Grill use a little thicker than what I’m normally used to. I also picked out the stalks of basil and mint out of my roll, just because they were a little bit on the woody side.