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Sister’s noodle recipe inspires new Vietnamese restaurant |

Sister’s noodle recipe inspires new Vietnamese restaurant

NEWINGTON — Everyone in her hometown in Vietnam loves the pork that Dao Pho makes and her wish was always to open her own restaurant.

She never did, but she bestowed the special recipe upon her brother Tung, who just opened Pho Viet Vietnamese Beef Noodle Grill on Fenn Road.

“I told her how all my customers so far really love it; now she feels like her dream came true,” says Tung, who went back to Vietnam with his wife Phuong to learn how to make the meat rub and marinade from his sister before opening the eatery in late July.

Now it’s made fresh every day inside Pho Viet, along with his sister-in-law’s famous recipe for beef and noodle soup — a dish that goes by the same name as Tung’s surname: Pho.

For centuries it’s been Vietnam’s favorite dish, but now it’s also growing in popularity in America.

“In Vietnam they eat pho for breakfast, lunch and dinner, or even as a late-night snack from street vendors,” says Tung.

He also operates a wholesale dinnerware business, importing specialty bowls and plates from Vietnam to sell to restaurants all across America.

“When (Vietnamese) people started coming to this country in 1975 there might have been one restaurant that opened, then more and more, and now there are over 5,000,” he explains.

Of the 10 or so he knows of in this area, Tung says each has their own unique variation of pho. Pho Viet’s version is served steaming hot alongside a plate of bean sprouts, jalapenos, fresh basil and lime wedges. Spicy sriracha and sweet hoisin sauces are on every table.

The menu also includes spring and garden rolls filled with pork and shrimp, rice vermicelli or steamed white rice with pork, beef and vegetables.

Items are listed by both their Vietnamese name and to simplify ordering, a simple English letter and number. “C1,” for example, is an exquisitely dressed plate of grilled and shredded pork, a wedge of pork meatloaf, rice and a perfectly-fried egg. Everything is handmade and fresh and each dish, a work of art. Best of all, none is more than $10.

Not only is the food at Pho Viet reflective of Tung’s home country, but the restaurant is an experience in itself. A stack of Vietnamese newspapers sits in the entryway for the taking and his native music plays softly inside, where imported tables and chairs await guests.

Tung estimates that so far, 80 percent of his weekday customers have been Americans, while the majority of weekenders are Vietnamese.

“Business has been very good; better than I thought it would be,” he says.

He and his wife live in West Hartford where their 16-year-old son goes to Conard High School.

Pho Viet Vietnamese Beef and Noodle Grill is located at 36B Fenn Road, Newington (in the Stop Shop plaza). Call (860)-436-6777 or visit Take-out or sit-in. Hours: Closed Mon., Tues.-Weds. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Thurs.-Fri. 11-9, Sat. 10-9, Sun. 10-7.

Erica Schmitt can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 210, or

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