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Phung Hung Market: "Real Vietnamese" on Jerome Avenue

On the heels of J. Slab's excellent review (see link below), we drove from Queens, braving the traffic on I-95 and the congested insanity of Jerome Avenue, to get to this wonderful corner eatery(Jerome and 193rd Street). Though hard to improve on the Porkchop Express write-up, I feel strongly enough about Phung Hung to give it its' own thread here, and to help spread the word.

Chef/owner and jack-of-all-trades (he also has a degree in engineering) David Nguyen greeted us by saying "This food is real Vietnamese". Issues of authenticity aside - I'll leave that to others to debate - what's apparent is that the man stands by his food, and cooks from the heart.

Being Bahn Mi enthusiasts, we started off with two sandwiches, the #1 with pork and ham, and the #3, with meatballs. Though not voluminous as, say, the version served up at Ba Xuyen in Brooklyn, Phung Hung still turns out a very good one: crisp, fresh bread, playing off of the strong, fresh flavors. It easily ranks with the best in NYC. That said, we didn't drive all the way to the Bronx for the Bahn Mi.

It was the noodle soups that beckoned, and the two we had were delicious, each in their own unique way. The crab noodle soup, piled hight with thin rice noodles, complete with ground-up gobs of real crab and chunks of tomato (!) had a very rich and flavorful broth. The seafood noodle soup, on the other hand, had thicker noodles, laced with shrimp, fish balls, squid and fish cakes, had a broth that was far more subtle, slightly peppery taste, complete unto itself and in need of no spicy add-ons (although they are available, along with the usual sprouts and mint leaves).

Phung Hung also whips up the thickest Vietnamese Coffee I've tasted in many a moon. Like Ba Xuyen and other shops, they use New Orleans' own Cafe Du Monde. This version, quite tasty, verged on being downright chocolatey. In addition, I ordered a Si Muoi, or Salty Plum drink, which is a refreshing combination of salt and sweetness, designed, at least in part, to replenish the body's salt content in hot, sweaty weather.

For all this chow, the check amounted to 19 bucks(which eased the pain of having to pay 9 bucks in toll fees). No money value, however, can be placed on the friendly, easy-going, refreshingly spartan atmosphere of this family operation. Mr. Nguyen and family were very warm, welcoming, and seemed genuinely happy, and more than just a little bit curious, to have new customers. Even if he doesn't necessarily need them to keep going (apparently, Phung Hung is not a well kept secret amongst neighborhood Vietnamese and food enthusiasts).

Another reason for this post is to give a heads-up: Phung Hung will be closing for renovations in about 3 weeks or so. Although it will be back, complete with same kitchen staff, this might be your last chance to check it out for a while before it re-opens in more of a cafe-type decor.

By the way, unless you're in close driving distance, I recommend taking the train. A much more relaxing trip. The elevated 4 line stops about a block away. The D is close by as well.

Thanks to Dave Cook, amongst other posters, who have made mention of Phung Hung in previous threads. Here's J. Slab's review, complete with food shots and Nguyen family pictures. Enjoy: http://porkchop-express.blogspot.com/

P.

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Pho Saigon No. 1
2614 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10468

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  1. Thanks Polecat for this info. This place sounds great! It's got such early hours...I think maybe I will make a day of it: make this my early lunch and then take the Metro North to Scarsdale for Lulu's cookies.

    Do you know which stop on the 4 or D to get out for Phung Hung Market?

    12 Replies
    1. re: HLing

      HLing,
      Re the subway stop: he told me and I forgot. Sorry. You can call though. I know Fordham Road isn't too far away, but there is definitely a closer stop on the 4.

      Make a day of it, that's the spirit. The immediate area is very mixed; lots of dominican places, it seems, and some west indian as well. There's a southeast asian grocery directly across the street as well.

      Hope you like it.
      P.

      1. re: HLing

        Get off at Kingsbridge Road for either train (the 4 or the D train).

        Link: http://www.hopstop.com/?city=newyork

        Then when you're done there, you can walk to Metro North or you can take ANYof these -- the Bx9, Bx22, or the Bx12 bus (all run on Fordham Rd) and come down Fordham road to the Metro North Station (between 3rd Ave and Webster Ave). Hop on the Harlem Line train
        (blue striped train) and Scarsdale bound you'll be for a $2.75 fare. Wish I could be there...!

        1. re: Cheese Boy

          I'm not sure if they are still fixing the 4 train to Kingsbridge. It's best to get off Fordham Road, and then walk uptown a couple blocks. There's also the infamous Ghanian restaurant Ebe Ye Yie on the same Jerome avenue.

          OR take the D train to Kingsbridge (back of the train). Once you get out there is the Edgar Allen Poe's house, and some multi-ethnic markets (Cambodian & Indian Halal).

          1. re: fsval

            thanks for the chow tip! my gosh, that is rather far from queens. taking the 4 all the way up to the bronx that far reminds me of my high school daily commute to bronx science (shudder).

            1. re: fsval

              Actually, I rthink the Kingsbridge stop re-opened last weekend. Its less than a block away, but still not too bad a walk from Fordham Rd., if you need to get off there.

              1. re: fsval

                Thanks Cheese Boy and fsval, it looks like I might have to start earlier to get everything in. I know, get Vietnamese for breakfast, cookies for dessert, and Ghanian for late lunch!

                By the way,can I assume I am pretty close to the Metro North from the subway station at Fordham station?

                1. re: HLing

                  Depends what you consider close. Fordham station to Metro North station is just over 1/2 a mile apart. If you stay straight on Fordham Road, it's approximately 8-10 city blocks -- 15 minute walk.

                  I also want to add that once you're at the Metro North station be sure to buy your ticket *before* boarding to avoid any added fees, and also be reminded that BOTH the Harlem and New Haven trains stop at Fordham station. Be sure you board the *correct* train. You'll need to be on the Harlem line train for Scarsdale. (Blue stripe on the side, as opposed to red for New Haven). Have fun.

                  Schedule: http://as0.mta.info/mnr/schedules/sch...

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    Of course, if you really want to make a day of it, the Metro North station is just a few blocks from Arthur Ave.

                    1. re: bobjbkln

                      Bobjbkln, i have to admit that I have never been on Arthur Ave...(hanging my head in shame), but now I would have start the day even earlier! Maybe someone savvy can come up with a Bronx food tour like RGR's Lower Eastside tour and Eric Eto's Roosevelt rd list....Anyone?

                      1. re: HLing

                        Take a look at this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/249671
                        djk's message (with extra info from the other messages) is close to matching RGR's LES tour. Note that while not tiny, Belmont (Arthur Ave./187th St. shopping district) is nowhere near the size of the LES, and with the exception of the Albania stores, the area primarily represents the food of one ethnic group (if you can call Italian-Americans ONE ethnic group).

                    2. re: Cheese Boy

                      Cheese Boy, you're very kind to let me know of the intricacies of riding the train. I have had some practice on Metro North at the Harlem station a couple of months ago for a brief period, but only enough to know that I had better get my schedule and train line clear so I wouldn't make a rash decision and jump on the wrong train without pre-purchased ticket. Thanks for the tip about the blue stripe! That will be a good way to remember in case I STILL end up short on time and have to make that quick decision.

              2. very interesting that they use Cafe Du Monde coffee & chicory for their Vietnamese coffee...I lived (and cooked) down in New Orleans for 16-odd years, and I know there's one of the more sizeable expatriate Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American populations there in the country. Also took quite a shine to CDM, so it's no suprise the rich, "chocolately" iced Vietnamese coffee at Phung Hung comes from the yellow bricks.