After years off the grid, Huynh My Truc Lien, a Vietnamese chef whose restaurants welcomed two former US presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, made a comeback with a signature lobster pho dish priced at VND499,000 ($22), newswire Vnexpress reported.
The Vietnamese chef, who spent years working in the culinary area in the United States before returning to Vietnam to launch the Pho 2000 brand, unveiled that a lobster noodle dish served at a restaurant in Las Vegas was the inspiration behind the new culinary concept. After conducting a taste-test at various pho-serving restaurants across Vietnam, she came up with her own recipe which could be more palatable for local and even foreign customers.
The pho dish (Vietnamese noodle soup) topped with lobster was introduced at a high-end gastronomic outlet owned by Lien and her husband, with the price of half a million dong, aiming to draw the attention of discerning customers.
Additionally, a bowl of lobster pho features typical ingredients such as silken tofu, mushrooms, seafood stock with a touch of garnish, like parsley, sliced red chili, and ground black pepper. The Vietnamese chef added seafood like clams and the signature ingredient, a whole lobster weighing 400 grammes that she hand-picked from the central region of Vietnam.
Before going off the radar, the chef and her husband had failed in their attempts of launching four new restaurants due to bad timing and their inability to maintain consistent quality when simultaneously running a large chain of culinary outlets. Therefore, until now, Lien has only been operating two restaurants situated in the centre of Ho Chi Minh City.
In spite of the thriving business of the pho “industry” in Ho Chi Minh City, Pho 2000 has not witnessed the same popularity as it did in the 2000s.
At the end of 1999, the brand name Pho 2000 was born with its signature pho. During the early years of business, the pho chain was the place to go, especially after former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter had a meal at Pho 2000 Saigon during his official visit in Vietnam as well as the visit of former US President George W. Bush at Vietnam House (another pho shop under the management of Pho 2000) in 1995.