On a rainy Friday night at 6 PM, Pho Bac wasn’t exactly bustling. In this casual canteen-style restaurant, there were a few customers at tables here and there. On our way in, we got to choose our own table, so we went with the seats by the window.
When we got our table, there were already a few bottles of seasonings available, like sriracha, chili oil and hoisin sauce. We were promptly given the menu, which had some selections of appetizers, main meals, desserts and drinks. The most interesting section of the menu were the Pho choices, though there were other options like vermicelli, and rice dishes. The specialty, Pho, is a Vietnamese soup. Typically, it has a rice-noodles, meat, spices and a delicious broth (the best part).
We opted for two bowls of Pho. The Pho comes in three size, small, medium and large, which cost $9, $10 or $11 depending on which one you choose. You can pick different combinations of meats for the soup, which still stays the same price. We ordered a medium bowl with beef and and large bowl with chicken.
While we waited for the soup, we were brought some Jasmine tea, as well as some garnishes for the Pho. The toppings included lime wedges, chili peppers, bean sprouts and fresh basil leaves. We didn’t order any appetizers since Pho is usually very filling. We also didn’t order any drinks, since the Pho came with freshly brewed tea. The menu also included a Vietnamese iced coffee though, which seemed tasty.
When our orders came, the first thing I noticed was the smell of the broth. The bowls were smoking from how hot it was. The size of the soups was also substantial, even for the medium size.
Both soups were excellent. The difference between the two was of course the choice of meat, but also the flavor of the broth. As you’d expect, once of them was beef-based, and the other had a chicken-based broth. The beef broth was very flavorful with a touch of sweetness. Adding a few squeezes of lime brought out that slight sweetness even more, while adding a tang that went well with the beef flavor. The chicken broth had a completely distinct taste, with the spices blending together. Both broths were a hearty meal for a rainy day, while remaining light.
Besides the broth, the noodles were also satisfying — they were tender and soft and absorbed the taste of the broth quite nicely. As for the meat, the beef was better than the chicken. The chicken was a little bland and dry. The beef, however, had a delicious moist texture. When the soup arrived, it was cooked around medium-rare, but continued to cook more in the hot broth over the course of the meal. Overall, all the ingredients went very pleasingly together.
If you’re confused about what’s going on in this section, check out our post on our edibility pillars, here.
- Taste: 5/5
The Pho taste was great, and we have no complaints. Its broth was so much better than anything we could make at home, especially since it requires specialty ingredients and a long cooking time.
- Easiness: 5/5
Going out to eat at a restaurant is usually quite easy, and this time was no exception.
- Affordability: 3.5/5
The meals were $10 and $11 each. These amounts are quite low for a restaurant meal, but are way higher than most similar meals we can make ourselves at home.
- Speed: 4.5/5
There was no cooking or involved, which always saves a lot of time. Plus, the service at the restaurant was prompt.
- Nutrition: 2/5
This meal isn’t especially bad for you, but the broth is quite salty and the portion size is rather large. Plus, it doesn’t have many vegetables and most of its volume comes from noodles.
Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite Pho place!
What other kinds of foods do you like?