Discovering new restaurants is always nice, but really, it’s the old standbys that never fail to answer specific cravings. One restaurant that never fails to satisfy me is Pho Hoa. Whenever I go there, I just take a cursory glance at the menu. A ritual I don’t know why I bother with, since I know I’ll be ordering a Pho #4, in either light or small bowl, depending on my appetite.
Pho #4 is actually the Pho Chin Nam, a beef noodle soup with fat glass noodles laden with slices of beef brisket and flank, spring onions, parsley and onion slices. A very flavorful dish in itself, the actual noodle soup is just half the story. Sitting down to a bowl of Pho is a ritual in itself.
As I wait for my food, I usually prepare a dipping sauce of Sriracha, an extremely hot chili sauce from Thailand and hoisin. At this point, they usually serve a dish of fresh bean sprouts, sweet basil, a lemon wedge and some chili slices.
When the noodles arrive, I strip the leaves off the basil and dunk it in my soup, along with the bean sprouts and chili, before squeezing the lemon wedge. While some people would probably have having to undergo several steps before eating, for me, it feels soothingly ritualistic.
What follows is a hearty mÃ©lange of flavors and textures, the refreshing mint mingling with the tang of lemon. The hot chili adding more depth to the already flavorful broth. The firm glass noodles offering a nice, soft yet resilient texture against the crisp fresh bean sprouts. The extremely hot sriracha â€“ hoisin mix coating the beef slices I dip in it with a fiery hot sharpness. Bite after bite is satisfyingly hearty and comforting. Even on a hot day, I won’t be able to turn down a bowl of Pho.
Last time I had some Pho, I also tried their Ca Phe Sua Da. This is Vietnamese coffee, served in a special drip container. It’s made of two chambers, the upper part holds the coffee, while the glass that catches the dripping coffee at the bottom holds condensed milk. I was served the coffee in this pot, along with a tall glass containing ice and a spoon. Honestly, I was quite embarrassed because I didn’t know how to go about preparing it, but it was embarrassment that was worth it because it was such a delicious, creamy glass of iced coffee.
Of course, Pho Hoa isn’t just about noodles. They also have great dishes, as J attests. He’s a big fan of their Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio, a meal that combines grilled pork, special fried rice and fried spring rolls. The grilled pork has that appetizing smokey flavor that screams barbecue. The spring rolls are flavorful and satisfying and the special rice serves as the perfect complement to everything. Of course, while I love swiping bites of this dish off J’s plate, it’s still a bowl of Pho for me.
Pho Hoa in the Philippines
Pho Hoa International