Pho Mekong: Thai? Vietnamese? Who Cares...It's Good!

Stephanie Webster

UPDATE: Pho Mekong has closed. Shake Shack coming soon!

There are certain meals you just can't cook at home...especially as a white woman. We have tried in our local gourmet club to master the art of Asian cooking, but after a full day's search for the 30 obscure ingredients required for a basic dish like Pad Thai, we decided our next craving for coconut and curry would be better satisfied with take-out. We had heard rumors of a local favorite, Pho Mekong, on the Westport/Southport border. Needing a quick pre-movie bite last week, we headed over to find out if the food held up to the buzz....

When you walk into the big red barn that houses Pho Mekong (formerly Thai Village), you will note the sparse, casual interior, which explains the booming takeout business. However, eating in allows you to enjoy the friendly wait staff and ask questions of their extensive menu. When Pho Mekong transitioned from Thai to Vietnamese in 2007, they did not give up their Thai dishes but broadened their offerings to include both cuisines. Some may think this would lessen the quality of the food, but Pho Mekong manages to create a fusion menu that is fresh and delicious. Mind you, it may not be 10 out of 10, but we rate this menu a solid 8 1/2. It's definitely worth the trip.

We arrived ravenously hungry and 15 minutes prior to our friends, so we quickly ordered the fresh spring rolls and shrimp dumplings to avoid passing out under the table. The fresh spring rolls are delicate rolls that are made of rice paper and filled with cellophane noodles, poached shrimp, cucumber, mint, cilantro and a little lettuce. They have a wonderful texture, and come with a piquant dipping sauce. The dumplings were a real standout. The shrimp was fresh, unprocessed, and flavorful, and the dumpling was crispy but not greasy on the outside, with a great chewiness under the crispy exterior. They were fabulous.

We hid the evidence of these two quickly consumed dishes from our friends who finally arrived. The group moved on to the tuna sashimi, which featured surprisingly excellent quality fish (this coming from a huge sushi snob) with a spicy creamy sauce much akin to the spicy sauce one finds at the local sushi joint. It was very good. We also shared the Green Curry with chicken (available with beef, pork, chicken, shrimp, or tofu) which had just the right amount of heat, and was positively drinkable. It was so tasty, I finally gave up the chopsticks and just started scooping up the curry sauce with my spoon. We also ordered the Tom Ka Gai, AKA Chicken coconut soup. Milky, tangy and a little's a winner as well.

For main courses, we went family-style as their portions are quite large. We tried the Crispy Soft-Shell Crab which was out of this world, served with a delicious red sauce that is both sweet and tangy. My husband ordered the Spicy Duck, which had a nice crispy skin, and was not greasy as sometimes happens with duck. We also tried the mixed vegetable with tofu (seen above) which had a garden full of fresh vegetables, and arrived in a very light sauce, as well as a quickly devoured Spicy Fried Rice with basil. I should note that the sauces in general at Pho Mekong are not overwhelming, but truly enhance the flavors of the dishes they accompany. 

A lot has been written about the Pho at Pho Mekong. Some hard core Pho-lovers say it isn't as good as Pho Saigon in Bridgeport. Many say it is delicious. We thought our Pho Bac (Rice noodles with beef) was excellent. I look forward to more Pho on subsequent visits.

Pho Mekong can be enjoyed for a casual dinner or great take-out. Whether it's Thai or Vietnamese you are craving, Pho Mekong is sure to satisfy. They do not currently have a menu online, but we are working to remedy this.

Pho Mekong 1849 Post Road East, Westport. 203.255.2900