Pho Chu The (Footscray)

92 Hopkins St
Footscray, VIC 3011
03 9687 8265

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Compared to last year, I seem to not mind having phở as a dish when I go Vietnamese these days. Maybe my trip to Saigon changed that in me. Maybe it’s because the weather is getting cooler.Who knows? But yes I’d happily head into a phở joint for lunch or dinner now. They’re so satisfying and cheap!

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I think the best phở I’ve had in Melbourne by far is at Phở Chú Thể in Richmond (now called “I Love Pho 264), close to the corner of Church and Victoria streets. There is a ‘sister branch’ with the same name in Footscray, I’ve walked past it quite often. Always wondered if it is as good as the branch in Richmond.
Pho Chu The (Footscray)
Phở Chú Thể on Hopkins St, Footscray
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Wendee and I are both migrants from Singapore. We first met up back home during our hippy phase in our early 20′s. Back then, I did a touch of fire-twirling and she was an excellent hand drummer. We were in a couple of performances together with my wonderful fire-friends, the Fireflys. For one performance, I even dyed my hair green in order to look like a Naruto/Bleach-inspired Japanese anime character…! How in the world we’ve turned so boring and aunty within a decade, I don’t know. I blame work, taxes and mortgages.
Pho Chu The (Footscray)
I’m on the left… good times…
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Since our move here, Wendee and I have been horrible with catch-ups. Over two years, we only met twice! And ironically, the last time we REALLY caught up was in Singapore this January, at a Fireflys reunion. Very lovely evening, so much camaraderie and nostalgic stories. Somehow, catching up is so spontaneous and easy in Singapore. Cheap and comfortable places are open late at night, weather’s lovely, people just love hanging out after work. I don’t know why in Melbourne I’d suddenly snap back into my I’d-rather-stay-home-at-night self. I think the night buzz just isn’t as pervasive in Melbourne. Everything looks like a ghost town in many suburbs when it gets dark.
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But this time, at our reunion drinks with the Flys, Wendee and I vowed to catch up more. And you know what? We’ve delivered that promise! I’m writing this post in early April and so far we’ve already caught up 4 times since my return to Melbourne in January. And where did we go for our inaugural let’s-keep-in-touch-more first catch up?
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Phở Chú Thể in Footscray!
Pho Chu The (Footscray)

I’m sorry I’m speaking so much about my life instead of the nuts and bolts of the eatery. But that’s the core of my food blog. I try to make it about why I had that meal. It should be about the people I have my meals with, and how it came about.
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But let’s get into the bricks and mortar now. Wendee and I caught up on a Thursday night here at 7pm. It wasn’t busy and didn’t get busy aside from another table or two of diners. The day before, Jo told me she heard that this branch in Footscray is actually better than Richmond’s. So I had hearty expectations of this place. The lack of patronage was slightly freaky, but it was a Thursday.

Pho Chu The (Footscray)
Pho Chu The (Footscray)
Why doesn’t this Thai basil have purply bits?
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I’ve come to accept that bean sprouts, Thai basil and lemon will be your standard accompaniments in most Melbourne phở joints. I know I’ve whinged about the lack of accompanying herbage in previous phở posts, I have decided to stop commenting about that from now on.
Pho Chu The (Footscray)
Phở bò đặc biệt $.9.50
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Wendee ordered the phở gà đặc biệt (special combination chicken) $8.50. I got the phở bò đặc biệt (special combination beef) $9.50. Typical Singaporeans loving our offal spare parts. Unfortunately, both of us were underwhelmed. There was something strange about the broth and both of us didn’t like it. Don’t quote me on it, but I thought it tasted oddly one dimensional with not much detectable spice or body. It also didn’t arrive piping hot. The accompanying pieces of beef parts were okay. But I was not that fond of the pieces that had lots of creamy white fat on it, that’s one beef part that I don’t remember being served at the Richmond stall. The chilli ‘oil’ was also different. It was more a chilli sauce and just didn’t taste as good as the amazing chilli oil in Richmond.
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Bottom line is, this Phở Chú Thể eatery in Footscray is far inferior to the joint with the same name in Richmond. I’ll now quote Lauren, author of Footscray Food Blog, who also dined here in 2009:

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Boo Chú Thể…!

Pho Chu The (Footscray)
The beef part I don’t quite like. Apparently, Wendee doesn’t mind this part, she says the fat’s so yummy!
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Pho Chu The (Footscray)