Dong Thap Noodles, 303 12th Ave South, Seattle
a little before 11am on a Sunday - eager to beat the queues I had read about online. With a no-reservation policy, we nabbed the last table in a very basic, somewhat rundown but iconic Seattle setting.
The staff were . . . friendly and quick to seat us and explain how the giant bowl of pho - a traditional Vietnamese soup - experience works.
We chose here because…it came recommended online as one of the biggest, if not the biggest, bowls of pho in the world. As a pho enthusiast, and a native of the Seattle area, I knew I had to take the opportunity to delve into four litres of broth, 1.8kg of meat, and 1.8kg of noodley goodness.
Our first impression was . . . one of confusion. Trying to figure out how a restaurant ran at such a fast pace, with table turnaround extremely fast, and queues out the door, when the meal itself was huge.
We started with . . .
spring rolls (US$5.25) and a vegetarian-friendly selection of rice paper rolls (US$6.99) which were fresh, packed with coriander and came with a perfect pairing of hoisin sauce. We didn't know you had to call ahead to book the pho challenge, where you get your meal free if you can finish the $45 beast in 90 minutes. So we opted for the steak and meatball XXL family super bowl, $38.55, between three of us. It came piping hot and smelling incredible. After posing for the obligatory photos with the gargantuan bowl, we tucked in and were not disappointed. The meatballs were succulent and packed with flavour, as was the steak. The broth warmed the soul - it felt like it could cure any ailment - and the noodles had an incredible bite and perfect slurpability.
The highlight was . . .
experiencing it all with wonderful company and coming together to share in such a fun Seattle tradition. We left with full tummies, an hour of laughs and loads of leftovers.
Come here if… you want to experience something truly epic in Seattle, without having to go anywhere near the tourist-heavy Pike Place, Ride the Ducks or Rainier Beer. I highly recommend heading along with food-loving pals who don't mind fighting for a highly coveted carpark and table.