It’s no secret, Asian people love to gamble and Asian people love noodles. (The 1% that don’t, don’t bother to comment, no one cares.) So it’s no surprise there’s at least one noodle shop in each casino in Atlantic City. Not surprisingly, most of them are bad and overpriced. Not bad and not overpriced, however, are the noodles at Pho Sydney, located just a short ride away from the craziness of the casinos.
On my visit, I was with my brother’s family and David, so we shared a few vegetarian appetizers. As you might have read previously, my brother’s family are now pescatarians and my BF doesn’t eat pork. You might say I’m running with the wrong crowd, and I wouldn’t argue, but ’tis life, and ’tis my fate. Goi Cuon Chay ($3.50), vegetarian summer rolls, weren’t bad as long as you gave them a good dip in the accompanying sweet peanut sauce. Tofu, rice noodles, and rice paper is pretty flavorless on their own.
Cha Gio Chay ($3.50), vegetarian spring rolls, were better as they were fried, but pork and shrimp instead of tofu would have improved it even more.
Once meat entered the picture, however, everything got better. David’s usual, Bun Tom Nuong ($8.99), rice noodles with shrimp, had lots of plump shrimp with some good charring going on.
The best though, was my very excellent Bun Bo Hue ($8.99), a spicy beef noodle soup traditionally from the city of Hue in central Vietnam. There wasn’t any pigs’ feet, my favorite part of the dish, but the savory broth heavily-scented with lemongrass made up for it. Also much appreciated was the extra fermented shrimp paste on the side for additional funky shrimp flavor if you so chose. I chose of course. And the blood cubes didn’t hurt either…except maybe the pig.
Good Vietnamese is hard to find even in New York City, and in Atlantic City the same can be said about a good bet. Strangely, Pho Sydney is somehow beating the odds on all fronts.
2323 Atlantic Avenue (b/n N Mississippi & N Georgia Ave; map)
Atlantic City, NJ