Pho Vung Tau
708 Vallejo St
(between Emery Ln & Stockton St)
San Francisco, CA 94133
Pho Vung Tau is one of those interloper Vietnamese restaurants in San Francisco's Chinatown, sneaking in amongst the bajillion dim-sum joints and BBQ places that line Stockton Street. My friend Natasha and I decided to head for Vietnamese food though, gosh darn it, and I'm glad we did. What a nice little place! I am also partial to their tropical themed-signs and the palm-tree and grass-hut festooned wall hanging inside. What can I say, I'm a sucker for am-bience.
I tried the Satay Seafood Soup. It tasted like an Indonesian riff on your usual Vietnamese rice noodle soup and was really very tasty indeed, with a nice spicy hit of coconut milk and (what seemed) like a little bit of peanut. Seafood was plentiful, if a little heavy on the fish cakes. As it happens, I love me some fish cakes, so this was by no means a bad thing.
We shared the Shrimp Salad, a pretty classic Vietnamese salad composed of cabbage, pickled carrot and radish, fried shallot, and peanut, as well as mint and cilantro. This came with a nice light fish sauce dressing and was a good cool counterpoint to the soups.
Natasha had the Vermicelli Bowl With Beef. This was one of the most humongo vermicelli bowls I've ever encountered, and she said the beef was tender and delicious.
Pho Vung Tau is a nice option for Vietnamese food in the depths of Chinatown. Good food, good prices, and a clean open kitchen: what's not to like?