One of the many things I love about London is how practically all of the nations of the world are represented when it comes to food. I always like to look at the menus from the countries I have been to and see if I remember the dishes (and compare the prices). Walking down Kings Road in Chelsea a sign caught my attention.
The Phat Phuc Noodle Bar sounds funny in English but the name actually means Happy Buddha. Either way the sign lured me off the Kings Road and into a little open air court yard. My intention was to check out the menu, but smell of the noodles instantly had me seated for second lunch. What really got me though was the noodle bar. Yes there is an actual noodle bar, set up on a mobile stall decorated with Vietnamese and Chinese ornaments.
[Noodle street stall - London style]
I ordered the chicken Phở, which was prepared in front of me, while chatting to the friendly girl behind the bar who was from Northern Thailand.
The noodles were as good as anything I’ve had outside Southeast Asia, and the unseasonably warm September day added to the occasion (26 degrees – in London!).
At £6.95 that is about 200,000 Dong more than you would pay in Ho Chi Minh City, but I have been back in west long enough now to be over the sticker shock, and I was happy to slurp down some noodles in a street stand environment.
On A Related Note
Speaking of Ho Chi Minh City, the city’s namesake spent time in London when he was in his twenties. There is a plaque on Haymarket in the West End which commemorates the location of the hotel where he once worked.
[Ho Chi Minh Plaque - London]