Nothing beats a steaming bowl of Pho on a cold and rainy winter day. Pho Hoang is one of our favourite Vietnamese restaurants. Located along Main at East 18th Avenue, it is easy not to miss this restaurant with a wide store front. What we like about Pho Hoang is not so much for their Pho but the fact that they had a very extensive menu beyond just Pho.
From the many reviews we read of Pho Hoang, the biggest beef (pun intended) is with their slow service. I think it is because of the way the restaurant is laid out. It is wide with two wings separated at the entrance. It took about 10 minutes before they came with the menu and our pot of tea.
It is without a doubt that it’s a very popular restaurant. The place were simply packed when we arrived late for lunchtime. Unlike a lot of other Vietnamese restaurants, this place has a good mix of Asians and non-Asians customers.
Thai Peppers! I love Thai Peppers but they game only one — unchopped. This means that they expect the customer to bite into it. They are lethally hot. They are 50,000-100,000 on the Scoville Rating. As a comparison, Tabasco is 7,000-8,000, while Jalapeno is only 2,500-8,000.
The Cha Gio (Vietnamese Spring Roll) costs $3.95 for a serving of three. The skin is deep fried and crisp. The fillings were seasoned with lots of ground black pepper. This is one of the best spring rolls I have tried. I like the way the skin is deep fried. Do you know how they make it so different from the normally smooth skin?
Arkensen ordered the large Pho Bo Vien (Beef Ball with Rice Noodle in Soup) for $5.95. Anything below $6 for a large bowl is a deal. The characteristic of a great bowl of pho is that it must be served piping hot — you must see the steam. This one came served with the all important steam. The soup was great and had a full beefy flavour.
Me, I ordered what they called the Com Bi, Cha, Ga Nuong Sa (Shredded Pork, Meat Cake, Lemon Grass Chika with Steam Rice) for $7.45. I liked the taste of the pork chop. It is both sweet and salty at the same time. The best part is the charred parts — carcinogenic? *shrug*.
The Meat Cake is nice but I don’t know what’s in it. The dish is served with both rice and vermicelli which is great drizzled with the fish sauce. For $7.45, this is like having three dishes for a price of one. Highly recommended.
Suanne and Nanzaro shared the Bun Mang Vit (Duck and Bamboo Shoot with Vermicelli in Broth Soup). This one costs $6.95. They ordered this because they sound unique. They had no idea how it looks like. It was a good choice.
The Duck Meat was so soft that they fall off the bones. Duck meat is known to be tough but with this you don’t need to cut, you just pull the meat apart. It is served on a separate dish filled with crunchy fresh onion rings.
The Bamboo Shoot served in the bowl of vermicelli soup were chewy. This is a good departure from the Phos. We’ll try this one again the next time round.
To us, this is one of the best Vietnamese restaurant. They have a good variety of Vietnamese and Cambodian cuisine, the food is great and the price very reasonable. Be prepared to wait for service, they are a bit slow.
Total bill is $28 inclusive of tax and tips. Not bad.