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July 4th Vietnamese Dinner

To celebrate July 4th, we decided to bbq. Ok, no, there were no facilities to do that, so we went for vietnamese instead. There are a good number of vietnamese spots in the mission. Thanh Tam II was just the place we randomly picked. It’s a small little joint, dimly lit, with christmas lights on the wall. I dug it. The traditional vietnamese garbed lady on the cover of the menu is a bit menacing / creepy.
J got the chicken and shrimp rice plate. Good and good.
I wanted soup, but not pho or anything with meat, so I went with the seafood noodle soup. It came with scallops, shrimp, squid, and fish cake. All good. It was a really light broth, but spot on with just enough flavor. I can’t even really describe what it tasted like, but it was just what I wanted, and it was delicious. I practically drained the bowl.

Service was good, the food came out fast, it tasted good, and it was super cheap. What more can you ask for in vietnamese fare?

Thanh Tam II
577 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 252-1190
Thanh Tam II on Urbanspoon

Pho Only

We met up with C and S for some pho… on an incredibly warm and muggy day. C’s a big fan of Pho 75, so we went there. I’d never been there before. Since C is half vietnamese, I trusted his pho tastes.

Pho 75 serves pho only. That’s right folks, no rice plates or vermicelli or spring rolls. Just pho, and a few drinks, and some scary looking technicolor desserts. If you don’t want just pho, then move along. Despite having a couple of asians along for the party, we all got very safe pho bowls, with safe meats… steaks, briskets, flanks. Not an innard to be had between any of us.

They serve a hearty bowl of pho here. The broth is actually a bit stronger than any of the other places I’ve been to in philly, and I’ve been to quite a number of them. So if you’re looking for a stronger flavored broth, Pho 75 is your place! Everyone agreed that the meat quality here is superior. For the healthy ones with us, they liked that it was less fatty than other places. And it seemed that you get more meat than at other places. We all stuffed our gourds.

I usually bastardize my pho with a giant heaping of sprouts and a few little squirts of sriracha and hoisin sauce. That’s usually it. I don’t put in jalapenos, and I normally don’t squeeze any lime. But C did the lime. And he doesn’t know why he does it but he does it cuz his mom does it and she’s vietnamese. So J and I both followed suit and limed our pho this time. We both liked it. Just a little squeeze. I can’t explain how it changed the pho, but it made it a little bit better. I’m convinced.

It was a good, filling, and cheap meal. The only down side is that on this hot and muggy night, all the windows were closed and there was no a/c on at all, so it was just uncomfortable. And it was also eerily deserted. There were a few people there when we showed up, but by the time we left, it was just us. Perhaps they just close early? Or perhaps real pho eaters don’t eat pho for dinner? I don’t know, but it was slightly weird. Oh, and they’re cash only. Considering the upcoming weather, I’m not sure how much more pho I’ll be eating until it gets cold again!

Pho 75
1122 Washington Ave # F
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 271-5866
Pho 75 on Urbanspoon

Pho Ha’s Greatest Fans

So when I say I have a pho problem, I mean it. I mean it’s not a problem like crack is a problem or meth is a problem, but seriously, I need it all the time. And it’s usually a toss-up between Pho Ha or Pho & Cafe Viet Huong. Pho Ha won this time out. The summer rolls, one of our staples. They’re usually always fresh here, with the wrappers being nice and sticky and pliable, so you know they just made em.
We’ve been here a bunch of times before where we’ve seen people order the pork and shrimp vermicelli bowls. J had to have one this time. It was a bit disappointing when he got a whole 2 shrimp in his bowl. 2. We knew there was something wrong with that, because when we’d seen other people getting it in the past, they always had at least 5 or 6. He was disappointed. And it looked like they’d tried to make it up to him by giving him extra pork instead. The pork is damn good, but he ordered pork and shrimp, not mostly pork and 2 shrimp. Unfortunately, J is pretty non-confrontational, so he didn’t say anything. The 2 sad little shrimp he did get, they were very good.
I was in the mood for chicken, but not the broken rice plate, so I went with the grilled chicken vermicelli bowl with an added spring roll. Their chicken was awesome, as always. And I’m a big fan of the spring rolls here. They’re super meaty and flavorful and crispity fresh. Perfunctory service as usual. Nothing really to complain about other than the lack of shrimpage.
Pho Ha #1 on Urbanspoon

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