Pho Saigon (Artesia/Cerritos)
This little gem just opened up a little over a month ago. Haven't seen any posts in regards to it so far.
As my friend and I entered, we both noticed that the scent in the air was decadent. We both sad that it was a good sign of a good soup base. We saw only 2 other tables filled with people, eeks. I happened to know one of the guys at one of the tables, took that as a good sign. We sat down and took a look at the menu. They offered a nice selection of bun, rice dishes, stir-frys, and even a kids' menu. I ordered the house special, but can't remember which one she ordered. The special came in 2 sizes, I opted for the large, not the xtra. Now let me explain something about thier sizing. I glanced over at the next table and saw this humongous soup bowl that I had never seen at any other pho place. I asked our waiter what size that was, he said xtra large. He pointed to another table and showed me what the large was. Their large is what the largest size bowl is in most pho places. The extra large was so huge! The waiter promptly told us that they wanted to be known as the place with the largest bowl of pho that you can order. So far I think they win.
Onto the food. I asked for my rare beef on the side, no problem and when it did come, I noticed how beautiful the cuts were, beautiful red, nice and thin and oh so fresh. The bowl had ample amounts of the various meats. The tripe was cut thinner than I've had in any other place. The meat balls were not of the standard varieties, but were from a larger meatball cut into wedges. They also use the beef ball with tendon variety. In regards to the veggies, ample amounts of bean sprouts and basil. One thing I was disappointed in was that they gave us lemon wedges. But as far as I have been noticing, it appears that limes have not been very good lately (according to other CH posts). My friend says that she grew up eating pho with lemons, it just depends. Well, it was onto the soup. My friend took a sip and soon proclaimed that it was very good. So good in fact that she now thinks it is her preferred place. As soon as I took my sip, I was in agreement. We both agreed that we liked it better than Pho Kimmy, as it is less greasy and not as 'strong' but just right.
She also had a cup of coconut milk/juice. It was not fresh, but it was also not from a can. I took a sip and found it quite tasty. Finally, they also include a nice bowl of tapioca and something, which I forget what it is. But it was yellow with small bits of tapioca and served warm. I've also had it in some Chinese restaurants. Very nice little added touch.
All in all, was very tasty and can't wait to go back. Have already told some other friends too and they are excited, especially to try the extra large bowl of pho.
Pho Saigon Vietnamese Noodle House
11668 South St.
Artesia, CA 90701
Thanks for the post. I'm still looking for my "go-to" pho place. Too bad Cerritos is not really my neck of the woods.
As for the lemon, my mom tells me that lemons don't even exist in Vietnam (or Southeast Asia in general I believe), and she never saw a lemon until we came to the U.S, so naturally lime is the more "appropriate" choice to achieve tartness in pho. Of course, lemon will *work*, too. If we didn't have limes handy in the house, we used lemons (begrudgingly), but I'm a lime girl all the way....while we're on the topic, limeade tastes so much better than lemonade....:)
The little dessert thing is not an uncommon complimentary palate cleanser in Chinese/Viet places. It's a type of "che". It's mung bean, tapioca balls, and sweetened coconut milk. It's great after something as powerful and aromatic as pho.
You can buy the type of coconut juice they give you at pho places at any Vietnamese or Thai market. It's not fresh as you said, but it doesn't come in a can either. It comes frozen and sealed in its own little plastic see-thru cup with slices of coconut flesh and is often packed with its own straw (a la Capri Sun) and miniature fork. You pop it in the microwave for about a minute until its dissolved but still cold. I've seen them do it at Viet restaurants. It's the closest thing you can get to drinking it straight out of the coconut itself. I buy them for like 50 cents at the market and it tastes exactly the same. Look in the frozen foods section if you're interested
I'm also a lime girl and I so love limeade! One thing to note is that the broth was just as good with the lemon. I was disappointed, but since the broth was very tasty, I didn't mind. Hope you get a chance to try it out at least, let us know what you think. My friend tha I went with is from Vietnam and says that they used both lemons and limes in thier household, just depended on what was available. I've heard on another thread that limes are not as juicy right now. Haven't bought any yet myself.
I pass by this place often, and I dismissively ignored it, thinking that it couldn't possibly be good. This was Artesia after all, not We.stminster or GG. Good Indian food? Yes, but a good Vietnamese pho? Wouldn't have guessed.
Thanks for the great review. I'll have to check it out sometime.
I have to respectfully disagree. The one time I went to Pho 2000, the pho was pretty sad: very few meat, very few, as in one piece of each type; lukewarm broth; MSG up the wazoo, I actually developed a headache while still working on my small bowl. We had to stop for burgers on our way home afterwards. Admittedly, I did not have the oxtail soup, but judging from their website, it doesn't look all that promising. JMHO.
To me, pho needs to be a little fuller. If I wanted something plain and subtle, I'd eat the Korean soup sollongtang.
Gotta try Pho Saigon next.
My friends and I work in the Cerritos/Artesia area and have all tried out the Pho Saigon at different times. We all agreed that the broth there to be mediocre at best. They do have the largest bowl of Pho, I have to admit. But in my experience, bigger portions try to compensate for quality (IMHO). Now, if you're looking for your money's worth, you should definitely try them out. During my visit, I noticed that there were only 3 other tables. My friend's observations were the same, no more than 5 tables. Maybe they are new, or MAYBE it's because their 1st location over the South St. received a "C" grade by the Health Dept. and was closed down for a short time.
I usually stop by Pho 2000 or Pho SuperBowl. Both are usually pretty busy and I never had a problem with MSG. Trust me, I would know because I get a slight allergic reaction!
PS.. I live in Westminster, so trust me... I've hit almost every Pho restaurants in the area. Everyone's got their own preferences and tastes.
You're right, we all have our own individual preferences, and that is what makes pho so great. Not only do we pick the restaurant that serves it the way we like, we also garnish it ourselves. In a way, it's like a bowl of yourself! haha.
Since you're down in Westminster with the rest of us Vietnamese, what pho places do you like down here? I've never been to Pho 2000, I heard that 2000 and 4000 were catered more towards the Korean taste?
re: kek is khmer
Kingkong, I found Quan Hop on Brookhurst/McFadden to be amongst the top in broth quality. Just don't expect your money's worth as they're quite expensive and servings are own the minimal side. The broth at Pho Lu isn't too bad either.
I haven't tried the Pho 2000 in Garden Grove yet, but I know they are Vietnamese owned and operated as well. Kek - definitely try the Pho 2000 in Artesia and let us know your thoughts.