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Pho Saigon

The weather finally started turning into full on fall weather and it’s made me so happy! I love fall because I can return to eating soup, soup, and more soup. And noodles being in said soup are even better, so on an especially dreary september day, I thought it would be a perfect day for pho.

Pho Saigon is one of the newer pho spots in town, having opened some time late last year. It’s one of those big and shiny places where the food comes out super fast, there are flatscreens playing football games, and it’s not very warm and fuzzy inside. I ordered a regular pho with brisket. It was great! I always taste pho broth before I adulterize it with anything (lime, sriracha, etc) to check if it’s good or not. And this broth is great! It’s not too salty, which is typically my number one gripe about bad pho, and it has flavor, because blandness is usually my number two gripe. There weren’t as many noodles, but then again I just ordered a regular and not a large, but man, there was so much meat!
I also ordered some of the fried spring rolls. These were quite disappointing. The inside was just mushy and it had a strange smell. Well, perhaps it wouldn’t be strange to some people, but to me, it just smelled strange and mushroom-ish. And I kept thinking it also smelled slightly like cleaning product, but I couldn’t be sure. It was a bummer. So now you know! Stick to the pho! The other disappointment was that they don’t have pho bo kho on the menu.

Pho Saigon is in a terrible strip mall on the corner of Columbus and Washington Ave. There really should be no reason for you to go to this strip mall, unless you need to go to the masquerade costume store or you need to pick out some tile. So if you can’t bring yourself to drive the 6 or 11 blocks down Washington Ave to some of the other pho spots, then this should suit you just fine. Like most pho spots, it’s quite affordable. Just avoid the fried spring rolls!
Pho Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Vietnam Cafe – Quick Pho

After the second snowpocalypse, the roads in philly, especially west philly, were fairly horrendous. Vietnam Cafe is lucky that it has a huge parking lot. Except that the road and the entrance to the parking lot was covered with 5 inches of ice with grooves in it, so that it was impossible for you to get into the parking lot without getting stuck in a groove. Somehow, I extricated myself before becoming another victim, and found a spot on the street. Boy, was this place packed. I’d been here once before, to get take-out, when it was still teeny. It has since taken over where their neighbor used to be, so now the place is positively ginormous.

I was just trying to shovel some food into my belly before heading over to javaflix, so I just scarfed down some pho bo kho at the bar. The bowls of pho here are smaller than at pho only joints. Remember, this is a fancy vietnamese restaurant. But it tastes pretty good. The meat here is pretty fat-free, which I like. This pho bo kho is not really spicy at all, so it’s very easy to eat. It’s an easy breezy small bowl of pho. You’re paying a lot for ambiance here, so pound for pound, it’s more expensive here. But that’s ok. The portion sizes at regular pho places are probably too big anyway.
Vietnam Cafe on Urbanspoon

Pho Ha Noodle Feast

As the weather stayed freakishly cold, it further fueled our love of pho so that we had to go eat it two days in a row. We ventured to our favorite place – Pho Ha. I’m not exactly sure why I love this place so much, I just do. It’s just a gut feeling. J got the steak and brisket pho, as usual. I wanted a bit of spice, so I got the pho bo kho. It looks firey hot, but it’s really not that spicy at all. It’s just the right amount of spice. The meat in pho bo kho is not the fancy meat that’s in regular pho, it’s much cheaper cuts of meat with plenty of fat and other less illustrious bits, but I like it just fine. I just get rid of the fat and avoid eating the knuckley parts. After trying my pho bo kho, J realized just how good it was and he was jealous.

It seems like Pho Ha has changed ownership since I was there last. The big paintings with horses and goldfish were gone and replaced with normal sized conservative pieces. The once red chopsticks are now green. The squeeze containers for all the condiments are different. The servers were all new and different, and none of them had super spiked hair. The menu didn’t change though, and neither did the food. And as hard to believe as this may be, the food came out even faster this time than before! And it came out pretty damn fast in the past! Pho Ha, you’re still my fave!

Pho Ha
600 Washington Avenue
Philadelphia, PA
(215) 599-0264

Pho Ha #1 on Urbanspoon

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