Co Do is where J and I slurped our first bowl of pho back when we were still in the early stages of gawkily trying to impress each other. Less than a year later, we were sitting on small plastic stools in the streets of Hanoi enjoying early morning breakfast pho. If there’s any culinary motif in our relationship, it’s probably pho.
A self-inflicted Sunday hangover beckoned a large, herby bowl of pho so it was off to Co Do because sub-par pho was not going to slay this dragon. By time we arrived, Co Do was packed to the brim but we managed to squeeze in next to a family.
The spring rolls arrived before the pho – hot, crunchy. Impeccable timing meant that by time our bowls arrived, the spring rolls had reached a temperature that wasn’t going to cause 3rd degree mouth-burns. The spring rolls were the perfect tool to infuse in the broth without losing their crunch.
The broth was beautifully herby, with overtones of beef bones and marrow and undertones of star anise and toasted cumin. A mountain of fresh Thai basil, mint, and crunchy beansprouts was plonked in between us, which perfectly balanced out the deeper beef flavour of the broth. A squeeze of lemon rounded the broth. The meat was plentiful, with beautiful thin slices of rare beef and generous slices of chicken. The rice noodles were al dente before becoming slightly softer during the pho-fest.
Co Do is perhaps my favourite pho restaurant on Victoria St and not just for sentimental reasons. J actually had his first bowl of pho here about 10 years ago so it has more than stood the test of time. It is well worth the drive and enduring the nightmarish parking plight to feast upon a bowl of pho at Co Do.