HOME > Chowhound > Pennsylvania >

Vietnamese food - Pho and Cafe Saigon

AmblerGirl Apr 30, 2007 09:13 AM

I tried Pho for the first time this weekend at Pho and Cafe Saigon in University City and it was absolutely delicous. Actually it was the first time I ever even tried Vietnamese food and it was so good.

I'm sure that I completely did not eat it "correctly". I got a plate of bean sprouts, limes, basil, etc with the pho. Was I supposed to add it? Was I supopsed to eat it with a spoon or chopsticks? I got large slices of sliced beef with it. How was I supposed to eat it? I cut it up which I'm sure was a huge faux-pas!

I definitely plan to go back. What other Vietrnamese dishes should I try?I tried their avacado shake and it was the best thing I ever had in my life!

Are there any good Vietnamese places in Mont Co?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. rabidog RE: AmblerGirl Apr 30, 2007 10:53 AM

    re: how to eat it --- i've asked, and was told "however you like." i toss it all in the bowl and get it back with the spoon.

    i don't know about mont co but there is a place that my girlfriend just loves called pho xe lua viet thai or something along those lines, in chinatown.

    also re: vietnamese food......... my dad and i are huge fans and i want to find something upscale for his upcoming trip here. we want a place with a good vegetarian/seafood selection, something with lettuce wraps and summer rolls and the like. does anyone know of such a place?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rabidog
      saturninus RE: rabidog May 1, 2007 06:03 AM

      Vietnam Restaurant isn't upscale, but it's nice, the food is good and so are the drinks.

      1. re: rabidog
        a
        anita7707 RE: rabidog May 7, 2007 12:09 PM

        I think Vietnam on 11th St. is nicely upscale. It's attractively decorated inside and the menu is big, with lots of vegetarian/seafood selections. Also, there is a nice nightclub/bar.

      2. j
        jujuthomas RE: AmblerGirl Apr 30, 2007 12:20 PM

        Pho Thai Nam in the Whitpain Shopping Center on 202. It was under different ownership until January, opened again in February. I've been 2-3 times, and I like it very much. It is a BYO, they have Pho as well as many other dishes. I had their Drunken Chicken Fri night, couldn't stop eating it, even tho it was a little spicy for me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jujuthomas
          AmblerGirl RE: jujuthomas May 3, 2007 06:09 AM

          Thanks for the recommendation! I tried Pho Thai Nam last night and it was great. What a hidden gem - I did not even know it was there. Everything was pretty good. We had the brisket and meatball pho, pork with vermicelli, pork spring rolls, and vietnamese coffee and taro mousse with ginko for dessert. Service was great, prices were reasonable, and it was a nice atmosphere. I would say that the food I had at University City was better, but considering the service and atmosphere here, and the fact that it is 10 minutes from my house, I will definitely be back!

          1. re: AmblerGirl
            j
            jujuthomas RE: AmblerGirl May 3, 2007 06:33 AM

            So glad you enjoyed it! Apparently they were not so good under the old owners, but I think the new folks are doing a great job.

        2. Pheebee RE: AmblerGirl Apr 30, 2007 09:05 PM

          This is going to be worth the drive: Vietnam Cafe in Telford. Hole in the wall. Quick but not so great service but honestly the BEST Viet in the Montgomery County Area.

          BYO. Get the hot and sour soup with fish or the Bun bo hue--a spicy noodle soup. And they are the only place where the lemongrass chicken is consistantly good.
          Warning though, they are incredibly busy on weekends and DO NOT go expecting 4 star service (they have been around for a decade now and is montco's best kept secret--pple from new hope and doylestown frequent here as well).

          It's basically run by a few old Vietnamese sisters who cook, run tables and ring you up. Really funny if you have the right attitude.....But who cares about service when the spring rolls are so amazing and they have homecooked meals....other things to try...duck salad. chicken with broken rice.stewed fish hot pot. yum. my mouth is watering.

          About your Pho question- I prefer to put everything in but not too much of the bean sprouts. How you eat it is you hold the spoon in one hand and the chopsticks in the other. You fill the spoon with soup, and then using your chopsticks put some noodles in your spoon (neatly) and then once you have soup and noodles in your spoon, you slurp it up!! YUMMY. Also, adding hoisin sauce and siracha adds so much flavor too.
          Enjoy! let me know what you think of Vietnam Cafe if you make it down there!

          1. h
            Hungryin theBurbs RE: AmblerGirl May 1, 2007 07:58 AM

            I don't know if it is any closer to you than Center City (I think it might be), but there is a little enclave of Vietnamese restaurants on Adams Avenue in Northeast Philly, just on the other side of Tookany Creek Parkway from Cheltenham. There is an outpost of Pho 75, which is still my favorite of all the pho places. It's all they serve, and has a very "cafeteria" ambience, but the pho is sooooo good. Right next to it is a cute little place called (I think) Cafe Saigon that has terrific bahn mi (Vietnamese "hoagies), a variety of other dishes, and makes avocado shakes and a variety of other fruite shakes and bubble drings. A little closer to Cheltenham is Pho Hoa, which is larger with a more varied menu. There is also a little Vietnamese cafe inside the HK Supermarket right there.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
              s
              Schpsychman RE: Hungryin theBurbs May 1, 2007 09:32 AM

              Wow, somebody else who knows about Vietnam Cafe in Telford! It is worth the drive. I take the whole family there and we eat for very cheap. I love their Pho ($5.95) and Amblergirl you ate it correctly by adding everything and squeezing in the lime. I personally add the hot pepper sauce in the squeeze bottle and make it good and spicy. Eat it with a cold Tsingtao beer and I'm in heaven. Their other dishes are also very good as well. But, as Pheebee warns, this is cafeteria atmosphere and slow service ("can I have a bottle opener please? please?"). It's always filled with Vietnamese people as well. Also, they only serve till about 9:30 (and don't like it when you get there close to that time) and are closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Enjoy!

              1. re: Hungryin theBurbs
                rabidog RE: Hungryin theBurbs May 2, 2007 06:41 PM

                that's awesome! i've never even heard of that area. next time i'm around i'll do a drive-by. :)

              2. j
                janiceliv RE: AmblerGirl May 6, 2007 08:06 PM

                There is a Vietnamese/French place in Willow Grove on Rt. 63 called La Vang. It is a small and unassuming BYOB in a strip mall, but their food has been great each time I've gone. A close friend has family in Vietnam and goes there often, and she says that the food is very authentic. In fact, she said their Vietnamese Spring Rolls taste just like what she gets at the fishing docks out there when she and her family bring their boat in. Give it a shot!

                2 Replies
                1. re: janiceliv
                  k
                  ken from conshy RE: janiceliv May 8, 2007 12:09 PM

                  Pho 75 is by far the best Pho restaurant in the area . The original store is on Adams near the Blvd. They also opened up on Washington Ave and in Chinatown. Choose your area. My friend, with a Vietnamese wife and visits there annually, says pho stands only sell pho. It takes 24 hours to prepare the broth. Much too long for a restaurant.. Eat it with as muchh or as little of the extras as you want. Add hot , fish, or plum sauce as you like. My fav lunch.

                  1. re: ken from conshy
                    p
                    photorc RE: ken from conshy May 8, 2007 11:48 PM

                    Ken is right about the excellence of Pho 75, and also about Adams Ave preceding the Washington Ave and new Chinatown loccations. Pho 75 existed in the DC/VA area first, although I'm not positive that they are related.

                    I must say, though, that Pho Xe Lua on Race St. is a close call when it comes to pho. I would definitely give it a try if you haven't already.

                Show Hidden Posts