new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Pho Bac Hoa Viet: It's Not Korean

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pho Bac Hoa Viet: It's Not Korean

Pho Bac Hoa Viet
3110 Bradshaw Rd
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 361-3888

We've passed by this pho joint many times on various errands, but have rarely stopped in, usually making our way to one of the many Korean restaurants in the area. However, one day the need for Vietnamese food struck us with its usual hurricane force (maybe it wasn't that dramatic,) and we made our way over.
The restaurant seems to be built out of a former fast food hut, which isn't neccesarily a problem. It was certainly busy during a Saturday afternoon. We also noticed with considerable interest that they now offer Hot Pot, one of our favorites from our time in the Glonious Country of China. I'm definitely coming back for that.

Lunch? The menu offers a wide range of the usual Vietnamese soups, entrees, and a few Chinese dishes thrown on there for whatever reason. There's also the usual dizzying variety of durian, avocado, jackfruit and whatever else they can think of drinks on order. I considered getting a salted lemonade but passed (but I love me some salted lemonade.)

We ordered the shrimp spring rolls to start off with. These were certainly large and pretty good, although I found the provided peanut dipping sauce was a bit watery. Tasty, but nothing to write home about.

Lunch came out quickly. I had ordered my standby, the bun bowl with shrimp. Bun, or chilled vermicelli noodles, is just about one of the perfect foods in existence when combined with meat, shredded veggies, and copious amounts of fish sauce. The bowl was large and the noodles were tasty, but the shrimp were rather small and didn't have that good charred flavor the best versions I've had offered. Still, I did enjoy the big portion of fresh veggies served with the bowl - sometimes they really stiff you on the crunchy veggie goodness you've come to expect.

My mother ordered a small (and blurry) bowl of the chicken pho, which had a good herbal flavor and a nice amount of meat. She certainly seemed to enjoy it. It looked healthy, which meant my dad and I pretty much left her to it.

Since I can't remember what it was called, I'll simply say my dad ordered the Pork Soup With Everything and leave it at that. This was a more Chinese style soup, complete with char siu pork, shrimp, fried garlic and scallions, shrimp toast, noodles, and what I believe were a few erratic slices of tripe. It certainly tasted good, with a nice kick to the broth after he added in copious amounts of chili sauce and jalapeno. It was also bigger then his head, which is generally a mark of quality in a Vietnamese soup.

Would I return to Pho Bac? Definitely, especially for both the ginormous pork soup bowls and the yummy sounding hot pot. I'd skip the bun though - those shrimp just weren't up to par (although maybe they do a better job with pork or chicken.) It isn't fine dining, but it's a nice and friendly space inside, and a good place to grab a Vietnamese meal when you're in that part of town and just aren't in the mood for Korean.

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