Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

Pho 321 Noodle Bar brings mountains of coriander leaves and pho to Harajuku

by Robbie Swinnerton

Special To The Japan Times

As the heat builds and the city starts to swelter, simple, appetizing foods are called for — in Vietnam, that’s the way people eat all year round. Thanks to Pho 321 Noodle Bar, so can we.

This stylish little hole-in-the-wall at the northern end of Harajuku opened last October but is really coming into its own, now the weather is warming up. Like its sister operation, the excellent Tass Yard cafe, the cooking is vegetable-centric, using organic produce and no artificial additives.

The menu is as straightforward as the decor. You choose from two kinds of rice noodles — pho (flat, like linguine) or bun (delicate vermicelli) — served either with vegetables, chicken or seafood. There are also a couple of rice dishes. And everything comes with generous heaps of pak chi (coriander leaf). Start with a side order of summer rolls, beautifully wrapped with slices of colorful vegetables gleaming through the translucent outer layer. There are no desserts, but you can always close with one of their tropical cocktails, such as the cachaca colada.

In case you were wondering, the name is indeed a wordplay, pronounced “Pho (Four) Three Two One”. The countdown to midsummer has begun.