Very cheap eats: Pho Dzung, Melbourne

Good news from the proprietors at Pho Dzung
What’s even better than Broken Social Scene at the Laneway Festival? Skipping Broken Social Scene for a bowl of $7 pho at Pho Dzung.Even the hardiest festival-goer needs a breather, and the Laneway Festival was notable for its lack of ‘sit down and take a break’ spots. Thank goodness for pass-outs, and for Pho Dzung’s fast service, cheap prices and reanimating broth.Dzung’s mainstay is pho, the Vietnamese rice noodle soup traditionally served for breakfast or lunch. Dzung serves the soup in small ($7), medium ($8) and the unfeasible large ($9). Varities include the popular-with-westerners rare beef or sliced chicken, as well as the more ‘authentic’ brisket fat, tripe or beef pizzle. All come with a decent helping of toppings including Thai basil, chopped chilli, lemon and bean sprouts: some other city pho outlets are notable for the paucity of their toppings.You can also try the Hue spicy noodle soup, a range of vermicelli salads (‘bun’) including grilled lemongrass chicken or spring roll (both $8), or one of a small selection of ‘mains’, such as grill pork chop with rice ($7.50). Sides include rice paper ($7) or spring rolls ($8).Like most pho joints, Dzung is an arid wasteland for vegetarians. There is one vegetable noodle soup on the menu, but when you know the principle of pho is adding bits and pieces to the one great big bubbling pot of aromatic beef stock out the back, chances are the soup is not technically vegetarian. Desperados could pick up an order of vegetarian rice paper rolls.Verdict: cheap, fast, delicious and with a probably unearned aura of healthiness, Dzung’s pho had us back on our feet and back at the Lonsdale St stage in time for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. (This is a food blog and not a music blog, but halfway into their set I kind of wished we’d stayed at Dzung for a serve of spring rolls…)Details:Pho Dzung234b Russell St (corner Lonsdale), Melbourne9663 8885

(also with outlets in Barkly St, Footscray and Victoria St, Richmond)