Welcome to the first installment of “The Hungry House Hunter,” where we chronicle the culinary wonders of Northern New Jersey as seen through the eyes, mouth and stomach of our adventuresome and ravenous house-hunting gourmand.

Our Hungry House Hunter knows the first rule of house hunting is never to venture out on an empty stomach.

So one recent frigid winter day we dropped by Binh Duong, a cozy, inexpensive and delicious Vietnamese café in Bloomfield, for a soul-warming bowl of Pho.

Pho of course is a hearty Vietnamese soup (usually beef broth) with rice noodles, herbs and meat.

Pho at Binh Duong comes in three sizes (small, $7.50; medium, $8.50; and large $9.50), featuring shrimp, fish balls, pork or beef.  

We ordered the medium with grilled boneless lean pork and were delighted by the mouth-watering umami flavor of the beef broth and the succulent morsels of roasted pork. Fresh bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno peppers and lime added layers of texture and flavor for a truly sumptuous feast!

Pho with Lean Gilled Pork

Bing Duong features an extensive menu, and many lunch rice platter specials ($8.50-$9.50) including our favorites, sautéed squid in lemon grass with onions, bell pepper and chili sauce.

Lunch Specials

After lunch, we checked out the East-West Market across the way, a Pan-Asian market featuring products from around the region, as well as fresh seafood and vegetables.

Warmed, fed and refreshed, the Hungry House Hunter was hungry no more and we were on our way!

Binh Duong: 61 Belleville Ave, Bloomfield, NJ 07003