Best Pho in St. Paul/Minneapolis
The stretch along Eat Street in Minneapolis (Nicollet Ave.) has my two favorite places -- I am not as familiar with St. Paul's many options along University Avenue. My first choice is Jasmine Deli. Their broth is the best flavored and they add generous amount of cilantro and fried garlic which gives it a nice flavor. My second choice is Quang. They also have my favorite Vietnamese fresh spring rolls in town.
Another interesting place to check out is Phoung, which is in the basement of an Asian grocery and the space looks like a VFW Club, but with Asian TV shows blaring. They have the largest selection. I would say it is not quite as good as the other two, but the variety is interesting. I have talked to several people who swear by Pho Quan, even though they say it feels a little dirty. I went in once and stood there for about 5 minutes and was never seated so I left. I would be interested to hear what other chowhounds take is on Pho Quan. The sign in the door claims that they have the best pho in town. All four of the places I listed are on Nicollet between 15th and 28th.
I'm always lobbying for the Quang Deli. I love their Pho. I'd also recommend the grilled shrimp salad, with huge shrimps expertly done, and the "dry noodles" which come with broth on the side and gravy and it looks very pretty. My mouth is watering just thinking of it, and its 8:00 in the morning!
I will have to try the other two, though.
I haven't found the equal of Quang along University yet, but I haven't tried them all.
There's a good Vietnamese Restaurant on Lyndale Ave South in Bloomington where lots of asian people eat Pho (it is on the right side going south next to a pawn shop) about 90th St. This place also has the best hot and spicy chicken we've tasted and wrap your own spring rolls that I love.
I make pho and often use a instant beef broth called "Essense of Lotus, Gia Vi Pho Bo". It comes in a spicy version too so watch out. I was told about this from a thai lady who owns Jasmine Market in Burnsville. My husband loves pho and thinks the instant is fine (as long as it has all the vegies, etc.) You can even throw in fish balls or a hard boiled egg. Fresh noodles are the best. Store the excess in your freezer but fluff them up first. Pho is really simple to make this way. Other times I cook the broth all night.