Being Vietnamese and living in Southern California where Vietnamese restaurants rival the best in the home country, I made it a point to seek out and eat at Pho Vietnam, which had only opened for a few weeks prior to my trip to Iceland. The owners are related to the ones who own the only Vietnamese grocery store nearby. My wife and I had pho and ordered some grilled meat and rice dishes to go. The pho broth was like northern style pho, somewhat on the mild, light side, in contrast to the more beefy taste of southern style pho, which is what is offered in most restaurants. The rare beef slices could have been more tender, but this may be due to the quality of beef in Iceland(?). Understandably, as herbs are hard to come by or grow in Iceland, the pho only came with a side dish of some bean sprouts; no basil or cilantro. The grilled chicken and pork with rice dish that we ordered was very tasty and could rival the same dishes in California or Vietnam. Perhaps the quality of chicken and pork is much better in Iceland. The 5-spice seasoning was right on. The accompanying fish sauce was too diluted for my taste but it sufficed, and really the meat was tasty enough without it. We didn't get to try the other typical items on the menu, but were glad to see the scope of dishes offered in this distant land where the number of Vietnamese residents is less than 500. So much of Vietnamese food is premised on the liberal use of fresh herbs, and so hopefully as demand rises, farmers might consider growing Vietnamese herbs in greenhouses to supply markets and restaurants such as this one. Thank you to the nice Icelandic waitress who spoke to us in English and to the Vietnamese server whom we hope we didn't shock too much when we spoke Vietnamese to him.
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