Lucky Pho

A Viet hit

What we say: 3.5 stars

Two minutes from Phnom Penh‘s riverside, just around the corner from perennial tourist favourite the FCC, you’ll find the small but perfectly formed Lucky Pho. If you’ve crossed from Vietnam and have a hankering for soup, you won’t be disappointed here. The price may be higher than on a Hanoi street, but then again, so are the chairs. With only six big black tables inside and two more on the pavement, expect to share your slurping and lipsmacking with other customers.


DIY pho.

As you might expect, the main offering here is pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). There’s pho with beef, pho with meatballs, fish, chicken or seafood. For a bit of variety, other noodle dishes are included on the menu, along with lok lak and spring rolls, but the main attraction here are the big bowls of steaming soup. We’re unable to get past page one and the choices of beef pho, which include fat brisket (much more tasty than it sounds or looks), meatballs, well-cooked beef and a mix of all of the above.

Pho, a dish, a yummy dish

Pho, a dish, a yummy dish

As it should, the pho comes with plenty of green stuff — the required bean sprouts, mint, saw leaf, fresh chillies, onions and limes — and the table is provided with chilli jam, fish sauce, soy sauce and hoisin. This is fast food that necessitates slow eating, especially if you’ve not had years of practice with chopsticks. At $2.50 for a standard bowl, up to $4 for special pho with fish, chicken, shrimp and egg, prices are reasonable. Sipping a 50 cent lemon juice alongside makes for a cheap but relaxing lunch.

Popular with language teachers on their lunchtime break, Lucky Pho gets quieter after 13:30, or arrive earlier for breakfast to beat the rush. The outside tables benefit from a breeze, but are not the place for uninterrupted conversation — we were given the opportunity to buy hammocks, books, sunglasses and mangoes from street vendors during one meal.

Mangoes, mangoes, get your lovely mangoes here!

Mangoes, mangoes, get your lovely mangoes here!

If all the tables are full, try Bright Lotus with the yellow awnings on the opposite corner, which has more outdoor seating with a view of the Museum park, and a choice of pho, chicken rice, pork rice and Vietnamese noodles.

Contact details
11 Street 178, Phnom Penh
T: (012) 538 904
Open: Daily 08:00-21:00
About the author
Abigail has been stoned by villagers in India, become an honorary Kenyan tribeswoman, sweet talked border guards and had close encounters with black mambas. Her motto is: “Live to tell the tale.”
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