Ahh...Pho. Is there any better way to bring in the New Year? I didn't think so. This past Saturday," the hubs" and I decided to try out this new Vietnamese restaurant that caught my eye a while back. It's currently located in Northeast Philadelphia, across the street from the now crumbling and vacant Adams Lane bowling alley. While the view isn't the best, the atmosphere of Pho Ha Saigon is warm, bright, and welcoming.
Upon entering, we were greeted and seated as soon as we walked through the door. The restaurant was bustling with happy customers. Aaron and I were seated at a spacious table and given an extensive menu to study before our waiter came. After about 2 minutes and were served green tea to warm us up as we gazed through the meal options. We waited for another 10-15 minutes before we were approached by our waiter who inquired about our selections for the evening.
What I ordered:
The food was amazing and was served in record time. After ordering, my main course and appetizers were in front of me 5-10 minutes after I ordered.
Chả giò - Crispy spring rolls with pork and shrimp served cold peanut sauce.
This dish was my packed with fresh shrimp, chicken, cabbage, green onion, and basil. It was light, refreshing, and crisp. The chicken was thinly sliced and very lightly seasoned, I forgot there was chicken in the roll! While I do understand the importance of an ingredient not overpowering a dish in it's entirety, I should still be able to taste a hint of the ingredient (I know, I just channeled my inner Alex Guarnaschelli from Food Network's show, Chopped). Also, if you're a fan of basil, like I am, then I would definitely recommend trying these fresh spring rolls because that was truly the star.
Thịt Nướng Cuốn - Grilled Pork Rolls served cold with a side of peanut sauce.
After I devoured the first roll, it dawned on me that I totally forgot to take a picture so I quickly snapped the blurry image below (forgive me). Juggling a delicious half eaten grilled pork roll in one hand and a camera in the other is not the easiest thing to do, especially if you're hungry! This was definitely my favorite part of the meal. The pork was grilled to tender perfection before being paired with shredded cabbage and rolled tightly in a thin rice paper wrap. I know the dish may seem pretty basic but the pork was exploding with flavors of soy sauce, and rice wine. I added chilli sauce for an extra kick but this is totally a MUST TRY item.
Pho Tai Gab - Pho with rare steak, fat brisket, and well done flank steak (You have the option of ordering a medium or a large. I went with large because sometimes bigger is just better.)
This was my first time trying Pho and it was definitely a pleasant experience. The beef broth was light but had full body flavors as if it had been simmering for hours. The beef was sliced thin but was a bit on the chewy side. I should have asked for no cilantro because I HATE cilantro. Despite the devil's parsley, I was still able to enjoy my dish. At first I thought the onions were a weird topping to add to a soup but I was pleasantly surprised that it provided a savory note that I wasn't expecting.
Along with your Pho dish you were given a plate full of fresh bean sprouts, jalapenos, and basil to add some crunch and freshness to your bowl. I went with the jalapenos and bean sprouts because I love heat and crunchies.
Once we finished our meal, we walked to the front of the restaurant and told the cashier our table number. She entered in our table and our tab popped up on the register. For two appetizers, two entrees and a diet coke, we paid about $40 which isn't bad at all. Overall I had a great food experience at Pho Ha Saigon, and I plan on going back again and again.
Check out their website here.
Njeri is a lifestyle blogger with a focus in all things beauty and fashion. Her expertise also includes event corresponding, brand consulting, and encouraging people to find happiness by living their truths.