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Jul 30, 2007 09:05 PM

Pho Saigon, Pho Cathay, and Saigon Market?

I am on a quest to try all of the Vietnamese restaurants in Northeast Austin and things are going along swimmingly. My current favorite is Sunflower, and from the opinions of people on this board, it may stay that way.

Anyways, there are a few places on North Lamar that I have not been able to find any information about on Chowhound: Pho Cathay at 9717 Lamar, near Cici's just north of Rundberg, and Pho Saigon and Saigon Market, which are located at 8610 Lamar, just south of Fairfield. Does anyone have thoughts on these places?

p.s. This is a different Pho Saigon than the one in the Chinatown Center.

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  1. Enter Saigon Market and head toward the rear/right of the store.There you will find a plentitude of deliciously fatty roasted meats for takeout orders.I like to get the Fried Out Pork Fat w/Rind attached but the Pork Shoulder is very fine as well.

    4 Replies
    1. re: scrumptiouschef

      Is this "Fried Out Pork Fat w/Rind" cut into small pieces like cracklins and some types of chicharrones?

      1. re: brattpowered

        Thanks for the recommendation on the take-out roasted meats at Saigon Market, scrumptiouschef. I tried a piece of roasted pork with crisp, cracklin'-like roasted skin, a luxuriously thick layer of fat underneath, and then the flavorful roasted-pork meat. It was delicious. They carve each order from a side of pig, so you can probably choose your pleasure. I would've asked for more skin; as it was, though, I received a very generous amount.

        I also tried some roasted duck. Because it was sitting under plastic with all the other hot dishes, its skin had steamed. Decent flavor, though. I didn't regret trying it, but it wasn't as mind-blowing as the pork.

        There were quite a few intriguing desserts as well, but I didn't sample any on this visit.

        1. re: MPH

          Saigon Market has the best hog in town.Buy a pound of it and reheat it out of the fridge in a cast iron skillet...the rendered fat makes a great saute oil for vegetable cooking.They run daily deli plate specials as well for about 5 bucks.

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            I thought about rendering the extra fat and using it to make a wilted-greens salad. Maybe I'll also sauté vegetables with it. Thanks for the tip. If there's any excess, I'll just bottle it up and put it in the fridge next to my bacon fat.

            I forgot to mention how much I liked the dipping sauce that came with the roasted meats at Saigon Market. It seemed to have a soy-sauce base, with some kind of oil, scallions, and star anise. It kind of reminded me of a sauce I had once with Filipino roast pork.

            By the way, scrumptiouschef, do you have any favorites among Saigon Market's daily deli-plate specials? Other than the roast pork, of course.

    2. I would advise against Pho Cathay. I hit all the N. Austin Pho shops on a regular basis (Pho Hoang being my favorite), and I walked in there, took a look around, and left. It seems to cater to the "all you can eat chinese" crowd. I could be wrong.

      1. There is also a brand new Pho place on Braker at the corner of Braker and Lamar. I don't know the name, but the restaurant is huge.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mike B

          It's Pho Danh. It's large and new, but the food is nothing special. All they have is Pho, and it is all right.

          1. re: brattpowered

            Both my parents are South Vietnamese and make their own pho. They think Pho Danh is good. I wonder if this means that my mom makes all right Pho. I personally thought that Pho Danh's broth was a little salty, but that's okay with me as I'd rather it be too salty over too sweet. I think most North and Central Vietnamese people tend to season their broths on the sweet side. I'd like to taste a more Northern rendition of Pho in this city.. if anyone knows of one.

        2. I loooooooove Kim Phung at Lamar and 183. There is no anise-infused pho like it anywhere else. I hear their kitchen is disgusting--so I just don't go in there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: legadillo

            I love to roll in the kitchen at Kim Phong....fluent in Mandarin you can really express to the line cooks EXACTLY how you expect your food.It's actually clean as a whistle.I always ask for extra MSG,then they know you're not some ordinary Westerner.The egg rolls are the best in Austin.Express your need for extra meat."But there's already sooooo much meat"they'll protest.Smile and then say "No,Extra meat" Mandarin.They'll love you.

          2. Pho Saigon at Saigon Supermarket is going to have to change their name soon because Pho Saigon is a chain restaurant. The "real" Pho Saigon franchise is in the Chinacenter. Both are great for pho. Pho Saigon at Saigon Supermarket (the owners are closing the market soon and just focusing on the restaurant) has all freshly prepared meats, the only one in town. Everyone else barbecues a few times per week and then microwaves it for you before they serve it. For pho I love pho Hoang and pho Van (near Target).

            Kim Phung is a nasty restaurant and no Asians eat there, they survive on their lunch crowd and their past fame alone. I don't know why anyone goes there. It is filthy inside, too.

            3 Replies
            1. re: luckyfatima

              Saying no Asians eat at Kim Phung and expecting the quote to achieve any sort of gravitas would be like a branch manager of a Chiles on Parmer Lane pointing towards all the Mexicans crowding into the dining room on a Friday night and going "see we must be pretty authentic or else there wouldn't be so many Latinos here".
              Ethnicity and the ability to distinguish good food from bad food are often mutually exclusive.
              Not to mention Luckyfat being plain wrong.On a recent lunch visit to Kim Phung the crowd was roughly half Asian.I set no store in the fact because I was too busy mowing down on the char grilled pork to worry about it.
              I can attest to why I go there.The food is damn good.
              The only time I was fortunate enough to visit their kitchen[my dining companion was dating a cook]it was a tidy affair and I had no qualms about dining there
              Vituperative screed against my favorite Meaty Egg Roll source aside;welcome to the board Luckyfat.

              1. re: luckyfatima

                re:luckyfatima's information regarding Saigon Supermarket.

                What became of these folks?

                Have they re-opened under a new name?

                Is Pho Saigon in China Center wholly different owners?

                I need a big plate of roasted pork with fat attached soon.

                Where are the owners of Saigon Supermarket?What is the name of their new place?

                1. re: scrumptiouschef

                  I'd like to know too. The last time I had some fatty pork with skin attached was from Din Ho. I usually get their bbq pork or duck from the BBQ counter, but one time I ordered ribs. They cut two giant ribs right off the side of the hanging pig, skin and all, then chopped them crosswise into bite size pieces. Pure heaven - each piece of rib had meat, fat, and crispy skin. Thanks for putting that back in my mind!