Pho Hoa

>>  Friday, July 29, 2011

I've been missing out all these years.

I'd always heard from my sister (and my brother-in-law, among others) that the best Vietnamese food in Boston is in Dorchester. I guess for one reason or another, I've mostly kept to my microcosm here - Cambridge, with bits of the North End, downtown, and occasional jaunts to the suburbs. Heck, the South End even feels too far away even though there's tons of interesting restaurants there.

Thankfully, thankfully, my sister decided to take the entire family down to Dorchester after her graduation to try some Vietnamese food from her favorite haunts.

Yes, I know this is a chain, but  . . . wow! Fresh ingredients, very reasonable prices, and a brand new, beautiful space. It's no surprise that Pho Hoa grew as quickly as it did.

Pho Hoa is a chain of Vietnamese restaurants that started in California and is now all over the world. They have locations all over Asia (Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Macau), in Canada, and spread throughout the US (Georgia, California, Boston, and Utah, just to name a few). The restaurants are franchises but all have similar menus and philosophies ("health conscious choice").

We were immediately impressed with the freshness of the ingredients. You won't see any limp bean sprouts or tired vegetables here. My brother-in-law also noted that they carry the more unusual rau ngò gai, or thorny coriander or sawtooth herb alongside your more typical Thai basil and bean sprouts.

Bún Gà Nướng
Grilled chicken with vermicelli, pickled carrots and daikon, beansprouts, and peanuts. You toss this together with a fish-sauce based broth. Absolutely delicious.

Bún Thịt Nướng Chả Giò
Pork, pork skin, and tiny spring rolls on top of vermicelli.

Bryan got a RAW(!) beef noodle pho, something he had never seen in Boston up to this point.

Essentially, they give you raw slices of prime beef, which you just dip into the hot soup!

Bryan loves rare meat, so he was thrilled.
Green tea ice cream
For dessert, they had ice cream from Christina's on the menu! Yes - we are talking about the uber famous ice cream shop in Cambridge. Of course, we were thrilled. I tried the green tea ice cream and it was definitely much better than what you typically get at an Asian restaurant.

I had a lot of fun at Pho Hoa and I would definitely return. There is another location in Chinatown, which I have not tried. I'm hoping it's just as good as this one. I hate to say it, but Pho Hoa has replaced Le's & Pho Pasteur as my favorite pho place in Boston (though Le's still holds a special place in my heart just because it's so close to home and is such a great cheap dining option in Harvard Square!)
This post is part of a larger series dedicated to my sister, Patricia, and describes meals we had when my parents came to town for her graduation. Other posts in this series:

Joyful Garden
Moves and Changes 

Pho Hoa
1370 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02122
Pho Hoa on Urbanspoon

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