A few weeks ago a brilliant plan was launched on twitter to search Shanghai high and low for the best Pho available. While it may seem silly for a guy like me, so fresh to the city, to search for a non-native food, but I was simply following around friends on an adventure. A fun adventure.
Our first trip was to Aniseed, a restaurant near Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s campus toward the edge of Xujiahui and Gubei. Girlie and I had ventured to Aniseed the week before and found it delightful, though no one in our party had ordered Pho.
Our first crew of tweeps was @chabuduo, @lovince, @sdweathers, @jason_sch and lil ole me. I’d continue to identify them by twitter name but I think it looks funny when I sprinkle ‘at’ signs all over otherwise easy-to-read prose. Then again, I’ll just drop the at signs.
Chabuduo thought ahead and made up scoring sheets. We had a grand time knocking back the TsingTao and realizing that, rather shockingly, though we all wanted to discover great pho, only one of us had actually been to Viet Nam.
On both of my visits to Aniseed, the owner was there, shepherding people through their meals with a smile and bilingual advice on the menu, though she did recommend essentially everything.
As this was our first go around, I’m not going to build big tables and run stats on the surveys, but here are the ‘overall results’:
Broth Overall: 4.75
Noodles Overall: 5.4
Chil(l)i Overall: 4.7
Though I was a rather forgiving grader that night, upon reflection I was not at all impressed with the broth, which lacked any real character to differentiate it from standard white bone beefstock, nor did I find the plate of addons–chil(l)i, basil, beansprouts and lime–of particularly compelling quality, and they didn’t give us any cilantro.
Nevertheless, with enough poking and prodding at the staff, we got enough extra herbs and chil(l)ies to make a tasty bowl of Pho, and they kept the beer flowing. Witness:
Thanks to Chabuduo for taking the photos and everyone for coming!Aniseed
189 Guangyuan Xi Lu,
near Yishan Bei Lu