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Dec 9, 2007 01:29 PM

pho in LA/SGV v. pho in the OC

like mayweather v. hatton, it's time to have at it.

for my money, my favorites are golden deli (san gabriel) and pho 79 (alhambra). there's also golden deli's offshoots (vietnam house, saigon flavor), and pho superbowl, which ain't bad but i just hate the name. some people also seem to like pho pasteur and "that one place behind the auto body shop on garvey in rosemead that chases you away" - i completely forgot if it even has a name.

i've only been to ONE place in little saigon, pho 79 (on bolsa?) and that was some 10 years ago... i remember being unimpressed.

now is the time for OC pho phans to step up in defense of their favorites ( Pho Thanh Lich? 79? Brodard Chateau? whatever else is down there?). i'm game to check out any reports of worthiness behind the orange curtain.

as for the LA/SGV supporters, (spring) roll with me and back me up with your own favorites.

btw, i was totally pulling for ricky hatton last night (> _ <)...

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  1. in OC, I like pho 54, pho Thranh Lich, and pho kimmy.

    1. I'm with you rameniac, I think some of the best pho is found in SGV.

      Oh and that place on Garvey (near Rosemead) that chases you away? Is it Pho Hien (9911 Gavery Ave., El Monte)? It's good stuff, but sometimes their broth can be a bit diluted, or bland, depending on your perspective on life.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I think he was talking about Pho Huynh on Garvey Ave. There's a body shop behind the restaurant.

      2. OC there is this place...Little Saigon...

        I like to eat at Saigon Flavor and Nem Nuong Kanh Hoa (not for Pho, Bun Bo Hue), but OC is far ahead regarding Vietnamese restaurants. I started eating Vietnamese food in the 70s and 80s in Orange County. They have a head start. There are also a heck of a lot more Vietnamese people in Westminster than LA.

        Also, Vietnamese food is so much more than Pho. Next time try Bun Oc (noodle soup with Snails) or Bun Thit Nuong (noodles with BBQ pork). There are so many dishes that are specific to different regions of the country as well. There is a noodle dish from the Mekong Delta called Bun Mam (seafood noodle) that is also very good. My personal favorite is Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodles from Hue)

        I live in LA but grew up in OC. I got my taste of Vietnamese food early on, I've been to Vietnam six times and my wife is Vietnamese. When we want the good stuff, we drive to Orange County.

        1. my pho thanh lich report:

          [10:58] rameniac: tried pho thanh lich yesterday
          [10:58] foodie friend: good?
          [10:58] rameniac: have you been there?
          [10:58] foodie friend: i haven't
          [10:58] foodie friend: heard of it though
          [10:58] rameniac: it's basically golden deli lol
          [10:58] foodie friend: egg rolls too?
          [10:58] rameniac: mm didn't try the egg rolls
          [10:58] rameniac: but it's golden deli + pho 79's brisket
          [10:58] foodie friend: you drove down just for pho
          [10:58] rameniac: golden brisket
          [10:58] foodie friend: oh niec
          [10:58] foodie friend: i wanna try it then
          [10:58] rameniac: i would say that overall, it might in fact be better than GD
          [10:59] rameniac: but a couple of things i didn't like
          [10:59] rameniac: they use the "thinner" kind of pho
          [10:59] rameniac: like, maybe a few microns thinner than the regular (GD) kind
          [11:00] foodie friend: was soup brown or light yellow
          [11:00] rameniac: (it's noticeable)
          [11:00] rameniac: the soup was like GD
          [11:00] rameniac: relatively clear
          [11:00] rameniac: with a yellow tinge
          [11:00] rameniac: but i think a little bit sweeter than GD
          [11:00] rameniac: it's a toss up soup-wise
          [11:00] rameniac: if you think GD is too light, you might like thanh lich
          [11:01] rameniac: for the soup
          [11:01] foodie friend: GD isn't clear
          [11:01] foodie friend: it's a light brown
          [11:01] foodie friend: b/c they brown the bones/onions longer
          [11:01] rameniac: compared to like pho 79 it seems clear
          [11:01] rameniac: 79 gets all murky
          [11:01] rameniac: with beef bits
          [11:01] foodie friend: 79 is a lil' murky
          [11:01] foodie friend: i'm sold
          [11:01] foodie friend: i wanna try Pho TL
          [11:01] rameniac: hehe
          [11:01] foodie friend: ha
          [11:01] rameniac: ok the 2nd thing i was meh about tho
          [11:01] rameniac: was actually their big selling point
          [11:02] rameniac: the "filet mignon" as rare steak
          [11:02] foodie friend: so was it pricier?
          [11:02] rameniac: it tastes fine and is tender
          [11:02] rameniac: mmm not really... a bowl of dac biet is $5.95 or 6.95 for the large i think
          [11:02] rameniac: but the filet mignon they cut it too thick
          [11:02] rameniac: and it looks gross
          [11:02] rameniac: it has all these little squiggly holes in it
          [11:03] rameniac: i guess that's how it's supposed to look when they cook it?
          [11:03] foodie friend: ha
          [11:03] foodie friend: yeah those are the fat vessels boiled out
          [11:03] foodie friend: it's how brisket/shank is
          [11:03] foodie friend: lots of tendons/fat that get rendered out
          [11:03] rameniac: but that doesn't happen when you haev it as a steak i guess
          [11:03] foodie friend: naw
          [11:03] foodie friend: b/c you're not braising the heck out of it
          [11:03] foodie friend: man i want pho now
          [11:04] rameniac: hehe
          [11:04] rameniac: the other meat in the bowl tho was quite stellar
          [11:04] rameniac: golden brisket with the crunchy yellow edges
          [11:04] foodie friend: i love that
          [11:04] foodie friend: the golden brisket
          [11:04] rameniac: and their beef balls were great... you could tell they use a different beef ball
          [11:04] foodie friend: that's why i would go to pho 79 over GD
          [11:04] rameniac: altho i don't think it was ball with tendon
          [11:04] foodie friend: like w/ tendons in it?
          [11:04] foodie friend: i love the crunch
          [11:05] rameniac: naw, unless it was ground up
          [11:05] rameniac: but it has a different flavor to it that its good
          [11:05] rameniac: different from regular balls
          [11:05] rameniac: (don't take that IM out of context lol)
          [11:05] rameniac: another thing that might take some getting used to
          [11:05] rameniac: is that they don't give cilantro
          [11:05] rameniac: but they do go more hardcore
          [11:06] rameniac: with that long, funky vegetable
          [11:06] rameniac: that basically tastes exactly like cilantro
          [11:06] foodie friend: haha
          [11:06] foodie friend: oh so is it hanoi style??
          [11:06] rameniac: AND they have a 3rd hot sauce
          [11:06] foodie friend: hanoi style = no toppings really
          [11:06] foodie friend: and much lighter in taste
          [11:06] rameniac: there's sriracha, the regular chili paste, and then another proprietary sauce that is almost satay-ish, but only in a very subtle way
          [11:06] rameniac: and is still red and oozing
          [11:07] foodie friend: like mien nghia's?
          [11:07] rameniac: i asked if that was for pho and the waitress said "if you like spicy" (well duh)
          [11:07] rameniac: but it was good
          [11:07] rameniac: mmm... far less satay than mien nghia i think
          [11:07] rameniac: maybe it would be like
          [11:07] rameniac: 1 part satay, 4 parts sriracha
          [11:07] rameniac: or something
          [11:07] foodie friend: hmm
          [11:07] rameniac: but you still scoop it with a spoon
          [11:08] foodie friend: could be their own concoction
          [11:08] rameniac: taste-wise
          [11:08] rameniac: (pretty sure they don't make it with the 'rach)
          [11:08] foodie friend: i never use sauce anyway though
          [11:08] foodie friend: i like pure pho
          [11:08] rameniac: i would say
          [11:08] rameniac: it's worth the drive to check it out
          [11:08] rameniac: and if you're in the area
          [11:08] foodie friend: if i go otu there
          [11:08] rameniac: but considering we have GD up here
          [11:08] foodie friend: i'll have a few places to go
          [11:08] foodie friend: quan hy, thai son and whatever pho
          [11:08] foodie friend: and this place in the Asian garden mall that does flat rice sheets w/ the vietnamese meatloaf on it
          [11:08] foodie friend: so good
          [11:09] rameniac: ahh nice

          3 Replies
          1. re: rameniac

            I recently made the drive down for Pho Thanh Lich, and upon discovering that they were closed, had a great bowl of pho ga over at Pho Bolsa. Did you hit up any other spots while you were down there? Or, did you see any signage that piqued your interest enough to make you want to drive down again next weekend?

            In OC, I notice that they include sawtooth herb (ngo gai) and perilla (tia to) as part of the herbage.

            1. re: rameniac

              Next time ask for the filet mignon on the side. Then dip into pho and cook to your desired rawness.

              1. re: justagthing

                Yup, just say "tai rieng" with all the proper Vietnamese inflections, and they'll understand you completely. :D