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Phở in the central coast

Living in San Luis Obispo County is great, but i can't seem to find any place that serves phở. Anyone know anywhere to get a decent bowl on the central coast? I'm getting desperate - i'd go pretty much anywhere in between Paso Robles and Santa Maria. I'd probably go further if i knew of a good place.

Anyone got any tips?

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  1. China City - 5800 block of Calle Real in Goleta- between Fairview and Kellog. Not outstanding, but if you have to come down to SB for something- maybe swing by and give it a try. I love it- but am no expert on the Pho.

    10 Replies
    1. re: JalamaMama

      Better Pho at Saigon on State Street. If you only want to drive to Santa Maria, Saeng's Kitchen in what used to be the Mervyn's shopping center. Its not great but very acceptable.

      1. re: kaki3152

        My mom has been to Saeng's Kitchen a few times and says that they put some kind of hot dog type sausage in their pho? Seems like this might Lao/Cambodian style maybe (never seen sausage in Vietnamese pho before).

        1. re: mliew

          Are you sure it wasn't bo vien? It's a traditional Vietnamese beef meatball. It has kind of a more rubbery texture than what you'd expect, and are often cut in half or into slices. Extremely common in pho. Tasty, too.

          1. re: Shortsord

            Not sure, I wasn't there so I don't know. Just thought it sounded kind of strange. Even down here in San Diego where there are plenty of pho places I've never seen bo vien on the menu. Then again maybe I'm just not looking for it. If I ever see it though I'll give it a try.

            1. re: mliew

              Go for it. I'd be surprised if the majority of pho shops didn't offer pho bo vien. It's tasty, and definitely different than any meatball you've ever had, I'd guess. Sometimes it's offered with all the other goodies, sometimes it's only offered on it's own.

              1. re: Shortsord

                In Fresno, when I've had pho with bo vien, I didn't see it labeled as such on the menu but rather simply called "meatball."

              2. re: mliew

                Im in San Diego. There is always bo vien on the menu. if not, someone accidentally left it off. I don't even look at menus, when I eat pho it's usually, "Tai bo vien"

              3. re: Shortsord

                I've eaten at Saeng's and I can say that the meat is almost exactly the same as in the pho I get at Lucky Pho in Stockton. It has a texture very much like veal bockworst does: fine, and with a squeaky mouthfeel. It's very good but not quite as delicious as that at Lucky. It is cut into slices or halves.

                The broth is also very good. Sometimes the herbs are not as fresh as those at Lucky, but we don't have the Asian market farmers here on the coast to provide them from local fields.

                I'd rec Saeng's: if you are knowledgable and can order off ( as opposed to from) the menu, I'm sure the kitchen would do their best to accomodate. They are very friendly.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  2/25/10 2:30 p.m.

                  to report a bowl of beef pho that was like hot water. no flavor till the herbs infused towards the bottom of the bowl. SAD. will try pork next time to see if it's any better. I'm hoping it was a mistake.

              4. re: mliew

                I'm not sure what those sausages are, but Lao-style pho does not taste the same as Vietnamese-style or Cambodian-style pho. Thai-style pho is also different as well. So now I'm curious to know what those "sausage"-like things are in the Lao pho at Saeng's Kitchen. =)

          2. When I was in Paso this summer, I noticed there was a little Vietnamese place selling stuff like pho, but also knick-nacks etc. Didn't try the place, but it might be worth a visit. Don't recall the name, but the place wasn't too far from the central square in town.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ed Dibble

              There was a thread on it I contributed to a while back. It is good. Don't let the little shop fool you. The owner started cooking because she had people asking for good Vietnamese food in the area (including me).

              They always recommend something when we go. My wife particularly likes the flower tea they serve (though I find it a bit sweet with bits of apple).

              I also like the Bun rice bowls. They did Bahn mi at least one time and it was ok but not outstanding mostly due to the bread not being as fresh as I like.

              About the best I have found outside of Little Saigon in Westminister. Certainly the best I have had in Paso :).

              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/585352

            2. Chow in San Luis Obispo opened recently and serves Pho. Same owners as Novo.

              2 Replies
                1. re: toodie jane

                  Just got a report from a friend about the Pho at Chow. Apparently it wasn't up to snuff - the broth was lacking. Bummer.

              1. If you get all the way to Santa Barbara, try Noodle City in Goleta. Very authentic.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bohemiaSB

                  I can verify bohemiaSB .I just went there last weekend and got a large Pho to Go.
                  It was awesome ! Perfect broth, all the acoutrements, spices. That and a #41 lunch combo set me back $16. A bargain!
                  The place was full of what I presume were Vietnamese happily chowing away.
                  Its located on Hollister Ave in Goleta across from what used to be Alex's Cantina,if you're familiar with Goleta.

                  1. re: bohemiaSB

                    tried to make a visit but they are CLOSED SUNDAY.

                  2. just had a very nice bowl of pho at Lotus Thai, out in Los Osos. The owner is Thai, and a regular customer had been after her to make some pho, she relented, and now it's one of the most popular lunch menu items. Thank you Juan of the Tipsy Gypsies.

                    Rich broth, decent anount of beef slices, not too many fresh herbs, just cilantro, and the flat rice noodles. very satisfying on a cold windy day. They serve beef, chicken or pork pho.
                    on 9th street just off Los Osos Valley Blvd, next to the sherrif's substation. Open daily but for Sunday.