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BEST Pho Satay In Calgary?

  • k

Went for Beef Pho Satay soup at a little place on 12th ave and Center St. NE, second best I have had in Calgary. It was a creamier type than most places serve, with coconut milk in the broth I think.

First best is Pho Dau Bo in Forrest Lawn still. Its hot but not too hot to eat, and the broth is incredibly rich and complex. Me-Kong in Forrest Lawn is good too.

Anyone have some really stand-out pho satay?

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  1. For the creamy type, i like Pho Que Hoang behind T&T in the NE. Another poster (formerlyfingers) put me onto it. It's awesome..huge value, great broth, tasty tasty. Noodles can be a touch undercooked sometimes, so i like to stir and wait a bit. Tasty spring rolls too.

    For thicker style satay, i really like Saigon Y2K. It's no Oriental Noodle House or Pagolac from Edmonton, but it's 70% of the way there.

    I don't like the thin, peanut and hot sauce style satay. No flavour.

    9 Replies
    1. re: yen

      Yen have you or anybody had the Pho (Sate, Tai, Ga, whatever) at Pho VK where Noodle King used to be? I got their house special bun last night and it was horrible- mystery meatballs and big hunks of flavourless roasted pork, ONE tiny spring roll- the only nice touch was their use of mint instead of just lettuce and cilantro, but the idea that I had such a great place like Noodle World a couple of minutes walk from my front door is really hurting now that I've had this terrible dish. Co Do is right across the street but they have been decreasing their portion sizes over the years (their goi cuon are barely the size of my finger, and I dont have exceptionally big fingers).

      1. re: John Manzo

        Went to Pho VK a couple months ago with my kids for Pho.

        As a gauge, we eat at Pho Anh (14 Ave Centre St NW) all the time, and my kids consume their Pho to the last drop, while I inhale the curry/coconut milk Pho.

        At Pho VK, the kids ate maybe half their soup and left the rest for me - it was not joyful. Very bland broth, and spicing it up didn't help much.

        1. re: John Manzo

          I did try the Pho Sate at Pho VK. Nothing like noodle kings. It was terrible. If you get the opportunity, go to Pho Que Hoang. It's as good as noodle king was, with only fewer chunks of peanuts, but the flavouring and value is all there.

          1. re: yen

            Pho Dau Bo beats Pho Que Hoang anyday! Pho Kim is good too but maybe Pho Dau Bo really is the best in town.

            1. re: Kor

              Well, i like PQH better than Pho Kim, but i havent tried Pho Dau Bo. I'll make a trip out there in the next few weeks and give it a try.

              Pho is such a personal preference thing that there really is no "best in town", as different people have a lot of different tastes. But for that creamy style, im all for finding someplace that's better than PQH. But i still really like PQH. The only thing that isnt great there is the beef - it's cut too thin for my liking (and not fatty enough).

        2. re: yen

          For you yen: deliciously THICK slurpy beef satay pho from Pagolac in Edmonton. So happy having this this weekend.

          I _cannot_ find anything like this in Calgary.

          1. re: alau2

            Sooo mean!

            If you're looking for a bigger kick (spice wise), try Oriental Noodle House (Thanh Thanh) just north of downtown. It's the spicy meatball! I prefer Pagolac's, but i know many people who prefer ONH.

          2. re: yen

            I'm trying to find a good recipe for the "Y2K" type pho satay, most of the recipes I find are of the thin or dipping sauce can anybody point me in the right direction?

            1. re: codohundo

              I think most people who moved from Edmonton to Calgary believe that pho is better there. Here is the recipe from Oriental Noodle House (in Edmonton) for their famous satay noodle soup. There was a series a long time ago for best soups in Edmonton and this was one of the recipes.

              Satay Noodle Soup
              Serves 4

              1 litre chicken broth
              5 oz hoisin sauce
              2½ oz satay barbecue sauce
              2 oz peanuts (crushed)
              1 oz lemon grass (chopped small)
              ½ tsp tomato paste
              1 tsp chili oil
              1 lb chicken or beef (sliced)
              ½ English cucumber (chopped)
              ½ cabbage (chopped)
              ½ lb bean sprouts
              1 bag medium rice noodles
              Green onion (chopped for garnish)

              Mix and cook the first 7 ingredients. Add the chicken or beef. Mix together the cabbage, cucumber and bean sprouts. Cook the rice noodles in hot water. Drain. Put the cooked noodles on top of the vegetables in individual bowls. Pour the soup over top and sprinkle with green onions.

              Make sure when you buy the sauce at a Chinese grocery store, it is labelled "satay barbecue sauce" as there is also "satay sauce" and "barbecue sauce".

          3. I've been to a lot of vietnamese places in Calgary looking for the best pho sate... I've even ventured all the way to forest lawn from home in the NW to try a few places that friends have recommended. My favorite is still Pho Kim on 15th ave, Center B street NW... the broth is very flavorful (not just spicy water), the noodles are cooked just right, and they give plenty of fresh bean sprouts and basil. Order your beef on the side and put in into the soup at the table if you like it extra tender. My only complaint is that the portion sizes aren't always consistent.

            This is very much personal preference though, as I don't like coconut or peanut sate soups as much...

            If I'm not near Pho Kim, others that I like are Pho Xuan (in the strip mall across from franklin mall), Pho Dau Bo on 17th SE, and one that I forget the name, but the awning says "Sunrise" on it ...also on 17th SE.

            A few that I've tried that I especially disliked are: CoDo (flavorless broth, high prices, tiny portions), Pho Anh Huyen (sate broth had no flavor - just burn, and the noodles were undercooked... although my friend had the curry soup, and that looked good).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Strider

              I'm sad to say that Pho Kim has really been steadily going downhill over the years... Haven't been back for a few months now, and I'm still looking for a good go-to pho place.

              Pho Thanh in Hunterhorn seems to be the closest thing right now, since 17th Ave SE is a bit of a drive. Their sate pho isn't quite as spicy as I generally like it, but it's flavorful and satisfying, the noodles are cooked just right, the portions are big, and the food comes out incredibly quickly - within 2-3 minutes if it's not peak lunch or dinner hour. It's also one of the few places that give you coriander leaves in addition to the standard thai basil, bean sprouts, peppers, and lime.

            2. My favourite is Pho Hoai in Far East Shopping Centre in Chinatown, we have been eating there for at last 10 years now. I love their Seafood version...it's always awesome

              1. Ok,
                I have been at this a long time,
                I really suggest Quin's over by Sunridge spectrum. Seriously great, consistant, and the sate sauce may have crack in it!

                3 Replies
                  1. re: John Manzo

                    I second this - we eat there alot as it is near the office and they have great Pho. They should be given special credit to how they package their take out. Other places make a mess of it and Quynh gives you the perfect "PHO TO GO"

                    Quynh Vietnamese Cuisine
                    2555 32 St NE #335, Calgary, AB T1Y 7J6, CA

                1. Pho Pasture and CoDo satisfy me.

                  1. I have to say that I havent been to most places on this list as of yet, but the best Beef Sate Pho in Calgary is at Vietnam Palace @ 2nd St. and 16 Ave. NW. I have not had any sate soup yet that is even close......I have not been able to try any of their other dishes cuz this is soooo good. They have beef sate soup plus another version of beef sate with peanuts...AWESOME!!!!!!! Do yourself a favor and try it as soon as you can.....it is a litle spicy but very flavorful.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: statman

                      I've been meaning to suggest this place as well. It's my neighbourhood go-to for good Vietnamese, and I concur with statman. I almost never order anything other than the peanut satay rare beef pho (#30). Best I've tried in the city, and I've been to most of the places recommended in this thread.
                      Decor is nothing special (It's a former Coffee Time, and they haven't updated much), service can be a tad unfriendly at times, and the background muzak is god-awful (often a crazy extended medley of various songs done in an instrumental surf-guitar with persistent cowbell beat), but this soup is seriously good.

                      1. re: statman

                        Nothing against you personally statman, but I always find it highly suspect when a new user comes and "bumps" an old thread with such a brilliant review of one particular restaurant, with not much more to say rather than it's "awesome" or "nothing else comes close".

                        That being said, I feel I should post my experience at this particular restaurant, since there isn't really enough reviews or comments to adequately rate it.

                        I went to Vietnam Palace about a year ago out of curiousity because they had a huge banner that self-proclaimed that they had Calgary's #1 pho (or something to that effect). One of my all-time favorite dishes is sate pho, and that's what I had. I found it to be rather mediocre and would probably rank it within the bottom third of vietnamese restaurants that I've tried in Calgary... and I've tried over 2 dozen places.

                        But that's not the reason I'll never return.

                        The reason I'll never return to Vietnam Palace, is that after we found a hair on our order of spring rolls and sent it back, a new order of spring rolls came back conspicuously quickly and at room temperature - unlike the first time around, when they came out piping hot from the deep fryer. Needless to say, we left the spring rolls behind, paid the bill, and left.

                      2. Pho Kim, Tucked away off center street is one of my favorite pho satay spots in YYC. I havent been for some time, hopefully they are still alive and kicking and doing nice food.

                        3 Replies
                            1. re: darelleats

                              ha ha love it ,there was a discussion about this very topic(funny restaurant names)some where in chow that was pretty funny,although i cant seem to find it.(i hate chows search function,doesnt seem to work for me).

                        1. added some to database and linked others:

                          Pho Dau Bo
                          4909 17 Ave SE #110, Calgary, AB T2A, CA

                          Pho Pasteur Saigon Restaurant
                          207 1 St SE, Calgary, AB T2G 2G3, CA

                          Pho Hoai Vietnamese Noodle House
                          132 3 Ave SE #16, Calgary, AB T2G 0B6, CA

                          Pho Anh Huyen Noodle House
                          1403 Centre St NW, Calgary, AB T2E 2R8, CA

                          Pho Xuan Restaurant
                          920 36 St NE #128, Calgary, AB T2A 6L8, CA

                          Pho Thanh Vietnamese Noodle House & Restaurant
                          6630 4 St NE, Calgary, AB T2K 6H1, CA

                          CO DO Vietnamese Restaurant
                          1411 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0C6, CA

                          Pho Kim
                          1511 Centre B St NW, Calgary, AB T2M 2R5, CA

                          Pho Que Hoang
                          999 36 St NE, Calgary, AB T2A 7X6, CA

                          Pho V K Vietnamese Cuisine
                          1439 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0E1, CA

                          2885 17 Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2A 0P7, CA

                          1. I'm surprised no one's mentioned Pho Thanh up in the NE corner - Deerfoot Mall exit west on 64th. I know it's a bit of a trek, but definitely reminds me of the Pho I grew up with in toronto at friends/family's homes. It's packed every time we go, line ups out the door. I almost hate to recommend the joint ....

                            Pho Thanh
                            6630 - 4 Street NE

                            -- oops never mind. saw the link in Rosetown's post.
                            -- yah, it's pretty awesome pho, definitely my favourite in town