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A Pho Restaurant in Cambridge Is Reborn With a Broader Look at Southeast Asian Food

Porter Square’s Pho House has been transformed into Chalawan, which serves dishes like Indonesian corn cakes and Padang-style fish curry

A wooden table is covered with Southeast Asian dishes
A spread of food from Chalawan in Cambridge
Chalawan/Instagram

A restaurant that previously specialized in Vietnamese and Thai dishes has transitioned to serve a broader menu of modern Southeast Asian cuisine. Chalawan has taken over for Pho House at 1790 Massachusetts Ave., near Porter Square, and while the Chalawan team counts Tuesday, October 1, as its official opening, the doors quietly opened a couple weeks ago, and the restaurant has already racked up a few glowing reviews on Google and Yelp.

Still under the same ownership as when it was Pho House (with connections to Pho Basil near Symphony and Pho & Rice in Somerville), Chalawan has a striking new interior that complements its new menu.

Chef Palm Amatawate oversees the kitchen at Chalawan, serving a broad range of seafood, meat, and vegetable entrees. For starters, Chalawan offers dishes like Indonesian corn cakes, steamed snapper dumplings, and crispy chicken skins, while main courses include Padang-style fish curry, Sri Lankan beetroot curry, Javanese lamb, and crispy pork. There’s wine, too.

Amatawate, per the Chalawan website, learned cooking at an early age from family, including his grandmother, who owned a southern Thai noodle restaurant, and he has worked in and opened restaurants throughout Southeast Asia.

Chalawan is open Monday through Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., according to its website, and it can accommodate large group dinners or private events.

While the Boston area has a burgeoning Thai food scene and quite a few Vietnamese dining options as well, other parts of Southeast Asia are underrepresented. Chalawan’s menu — with inspiration from Indonesia, Singapore, Myanmar, and beyond — might bring something new to the table.

Pho House in Cambridge Has Closed, Chalawan to Replace It [BRT]
Chalawan [Official Site]

Chalawan Asian Eatery

1790 Massachusetts Avenue, , MA 02140 (617) 547-8888 Visit Website

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