Pho Hanoi | Serangoon North

Hearty shot of Vietnamese in the northeast.

My unintended sabbatical, or break or freedom or unemployment or what-have-you is finally coming to an end! I’ve gotta admit, I’m having mixed feelings about the past few months really, basically doing everything and nothing. In many respects, I haven’t accomplished much but even then, I wouldn’t go as far as to call the year wasted. Sometimes, you’ve gotta be detached in order to find out where you are, where you really want to go, and where life, or rather God, has installed for you. When your life is “happening”, you can easily get caught in the cyclical nature of it all – developing a sense of complacency and a false sense of security that everything’s fine…until you’re struck down. Then you wake up and realize: your life hasn’t been going the way you planned it to be, and what has turned out so far, is something that you’re unhappy with. I’ve had the privilege, or rather, the misfortune, of being periodically slapped into changing my course. First in 2007, when I was struck with clinical depression, and 8 years later, in 2013, when I was knocked out of my writing career. I bear no ill feelings, even if I do occasionally get frustrated but that’s with the media industry as a whole. I took a while, I was nostalgic, I wanted back in, but now I see that I was ejected for a reason, for my safety, for my future. I decided, it came to me, ever so slight yet that push was all I need to be given the strength to move on, to pursue a new course in life.

I wanted a pleasant lunch, a little boost if you will, to motivate me for the new life I have ahead of myself, and found that Pho Hanoi, located in Serangoon North, was a direct, 11 minute ride away. Pho Hanoi has a weekday set lunch menu at SGD 8.80 which includes an elected main, a spring roll and a drink. Today, it was Rice Noodles with Chicken Chop, and having read earlier praises about Pho Hanoi’s meats, I went for it.

Generally, for the price, I found it rather agreeable. I had some problems with the Rice Noodles, which was in fact, the thin variety of Rice Vermicelli rather than the thicker variety that I’m used to having in Vietnamese cuisine but it’s a minor quibble really. The chicken chop was absolutely divine – “chicken chop” was putting it likely, it was a slab of perfectly grilled poultry, perfectly tender juicy meat with that lovely smoked game affection contrasting with the honey caramelized slight crisp of the skin, it was simply brilliant.

The spring roll, which was curiously served after the main course, was fine. Not the best thing I’ve eaten, but definitely not the worst, either.

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