Good dining Vietnam! Go if only pho the love of chillis
It’s common to be exposed to spicy Asian food as a child when you grow up in Australia. My father was always more prone to ordering a selection of Thai stir-fries for our weekly take-out night than a pizza, so it’s fair to say that I started refining my taste buds to Thai chillies from an early age. However, being raised on quality Asian food has its disadvantages: you become somewhat of an Asian-food snob. This snobbiness was heightened when I moved to Copenhagen and constantly became disappointed with the quality of Asian restaurants. This has consequently led me on a two-year quest to be satisfied, and I’m excited to say that I finally hit gold last week with a little Vietnamese eatery in Nørrebro called Nha Trang.
Set on the not-so-idyllic corner of Rantzhausgade and Jesper Brochmands Gade, Nha Trang is not an eye-catching or beautifully designed restaurant but, in my opinion, this just ads to its charm. The restaurant is small, cosy and run by a husband and wife super duo: while she whips up a storm in the kitchen using her families traditional recipes, he tends to his guests out the front, indulging in chatty banter and even the odd Danish lesson. Given the small operation compared to the high demand of customers, the food and service comes at its own pace, so patience is imperative – but if you’ve ever been to Vietnam, you’ll consider this to just be another aspect of authenticity.
What I love about Vietnamese food are the fresh herbs, filling Pho soups and rice paper rolls. Fortunately, both these dishes appeared on the menu and left me disregarding any of the pages after. It was lucky that I ordered quickly though, as after ordering, I continued to flip through the menu to find myself overwhelmed by dish possibilities for both vegetable and meat-lovers alike.
We started with a serving of Goi Guon, which are Vietnamese fresh spring rolls: transparent rice paper pancakes that are crammed with shrimp, pork, omelette, noodles and Asian vegetables. Although we shared a starter, they were definitely big enough to feed one person comfortably as a main.
What I was most excited to try was their version of Pho: a classic Vietnamese beef noodle soup. The origins of Pho are unknown, but it is well and truly a Vietnamese comfort food and totally addictive. The secret to making a good Pho is in the richness of the broth, the ingredients used, and the length of time the stock has been allowed to simmer (usually around 24 hours). Nha Trang has well and truly mastered the broth, ensuring that all the essential flavours of star anise, cinnamon and ginger are perfectly aligned. The steaming hot broth is served over a mountain of rice noodles and thinly-sliced raw beef, with a buffet of Asian garnishes such as Thai basil, mint, coriander, lime, bean sprouts and chopped red chilli. For those native chilli lovers, Nha Trang makes its own chilli sauce that will indeed add that further kick to your meal. The portions are huge and big enough to satisfy even the greatest hunger.
We skipped the wine and indulged in their homemade lemonade, which appeared to be one of their biggest hits. Traditionally Vietnamese lemonade is made with salted, pickled lime, sugar and carbonated water. Nha Trang’s version has a unique balance of sour, sweet and salty, which is the ultimate thirst quencher and perfect to soothe a burning mouth.
So, if you love your Asian food and want it cheap, a hearty and delicious meal will set you back 300 kroner for two people and have you rolling home in chilli sweats.
Jesper Brochmands Gade 11,Cph N;
3216 1888, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Open: Mon-Sun 17:00-22:00
Cuisine: Vietnamese, Top Dish: Pho soup
Price Range: 90-160kr