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Feb 9, 2010 08:10 AM

Looking for best pho in Philadelphia

Craving pho - where should I go?

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  1. I really like Pho Ha at 6th & Washington. Nam Phuong (11th & Wash) is my second favorite, but not a pho joint like the others. Can't go wrong with the others down there like Pho Hoa, Viet Huong, and Pho 75, but I think they are not as good.

    13 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      So, after reading the dizzying amount of great information on this thread, I have two unique questions. I noticed that Pho 75 is closed, and am wondering if Nam Phuong is still the recommended spot for great Pho? I grew up in Minnesota, and we have one of the largest Hmong populations outside of Laos/Vietnam. So I was spoiled by very very very good, authentic, non-MSG (yes it is possible), aromatic, and perfect bowls of Pho. What's still open and good? (MSG or non-MSG?)

      Also, my roomie has never had Pho, which I think is a travesty. There is one little hitch though- she doesn't eat beef or pork. Dare I ask if there is a place with great and authentic Pho where I can get my beef brisket, tendon, tripe, round eye, flank steak and she can get a vegetarian or NON-BEEF OR PORK broth option?

      Thanks Chowhounders!!!!

      1. re: linfr21

        Don't hold me to it, but I think Nam Phuong has a chicken pho.

        75 is closed? boo!

        1. re: linfr21

          Pho 75 in chinatown closed but the one on Washington Ave is still open.

          Pho Ha and Pho Hoa both definitely have good pho ga (chicken pho). You can specify if you want dark or white meat, the dark usually has bones so if you have a preference one way or another make sure to specify. I never heard of pork pho but Nam Phuong and Pho Hoa both have huge noodle soup menus with all kinds of soups similar to pho with different broths... Pork, seafood, etc. Pho Ha also does shrimp pho, but that is the beef broth with shrimp instead of beef in it.

          1. re: linfr21

            Pho 75 in CHINATOWN closed. The other two Adams Ave and on Wash. are OPEN

            1. re: ken from conshy

              Pho 75 is a chain... (not sure if it is a franchise or all company owned.) They have multiple stores in the greater Washington DC area in both MD and VA in addition to their two locations in Philadelphia.

              1. re: ken from conshy

                Woopsies my bad! Pho 75 Chinatown closed the rest are open for business!

                Regard Pho Ha and Nam Phuong, I saw that they had chicken pho and other non beef options but wondered if the broth is also not beef based? My roomie cannot eat any beef or pork period. Including in the broth! (I would die. I love beef).

                1. re: linfr21

                  Yes pho ga is chicken broth, always. The other soups you should ask, the broth can vary. I think Pho Ha might have some sort of tofu pho but I don't see the point in that if you are looking for something authentic for someone who never had pho... pho ga is the way to go for non-beef.

                  1. re: linfr21

                    Pho Ga (pho with chicken) is available at most pho places. I have had it at Pho and Beyond (Willow Grove) and Pho 75.

                2. re: linfr21

                  Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thanh

                  2539 Kensington Ave

                  Philadelphia, PA 19125

                  (215) 427-0483

                  Yes, in Kensington neighborhood under the El! the chicken pho is excellent. Tender fresh chicken. They get the chicken across the street (fresh live chicken/poultry market).

                  Also, just across the street...

                  Thang Long
                  2534 Kensington Ave.

                  Website and menu:

                  1. re: SpdRcr069

                    BUBBLE TEA!!!! OH I HAVEN'T HAD THAT SINCE I WAS IN NYC!!!!! You just made my day.

                    1. re: linfr21

                      There is a dedicated bubble tea place on 11th & Snyder.

                      1. re: Philly Ray

                        Cups & Chairs at 5th & Passyunk makes good bubble tea, too.

                  2. re: linfr21

                    Most Vietnamese restaurants have a chicken pho now.

                3. while it isn't a pho joint, my favorite bowl is at nam phuong on 11th b/n washington and ellsworth. have enjoyed a good bowl of pho at all of the following places:

                  pho ha
                  pho hoa (a viet friend swears by this place)
                  pho 75 (both)
                  pho xe lua
                  vietnam (restaurant and palace)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: mazza3

                    I've tried a lot of Pho in Chinatown and Pho75 continues to be my favorite.

                    1. re: discndav

                      i agree as far as chinatown goes....:)

                      1. re: mazza3

                        and i have an update - do not go to vietnam for pho. some other commenter said that it was crappy, but it was on my good list. either i haven't eaten the pho there in a while (which i haven't) or they have simply changed it up (for the worse), but the pho there straight up sucked last night. the meat was disgusting and the noodles were mush. the broth had an off smell and the only good thing was the basil and the hot sauce. revised rankings, if i had to recommend three sure things: nam phuong, pho 75 (chinatown) and pho hoa (washington ave)....ugh, was so disappointed....

                        1. re: mazza3

                          Agreed. It used to be the best Vietnamese restaurant in town, and now it's just too westernized and bland. And the portions shrunk.

                    2. re: mazza3

                      My experience is that the Pho at both Vietnam and Vietnam palace is sub par. I do not like the broth, the size of the serving or the quality of the fresh herbs brought on the side. Many times they do not have the "sawgrass" or the pickled onions. Which is not to say that I do not like eating at either restaurant, I just do not have Pho at either place.

                      My personal favorite is Vietname Cafe in Telford, not to be confused with the outpost of Vietnam called Vietnam Cafe in West Philadelphia.

                      1. re: cwdonald

                        I like Vietnam Cafe, but unfortunately they seem to have eliminated tripe from their pho as of late. It's still good...

                    3. if around 69th Street, Ah Hong in upper darby is great.

                        1. re: Kater

                          N P only lists a beef pho on their menu, is that right? I thought it was more common with pork etc... but I am a pho newbie

                          1. re: AgentRed

                            Pho is always beef, although sometimes you can get it with shrimp and there is a chicken broth variation (pho ga). I've never seen pork, though there are similar soups with a pork broth base. NP has a huge separate menu of other soups, and they are all good of the ones I tried.

                        2. I love pho hoa... I didn't want to because it is so often described as the mcdonald's of pho restaurants, but their food is so good!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LPhila

                            It's true, both the McDonald's comparison (they are a big national chain) and the fact that it is good (their Pho Ga--chicken soup--is my favorite).

                            Pho is fast food everywhere. The only thing that would really trigger my snob-goggles at a Pho place is if I found out they used a soup base instead of making it from scratch. But who knows, maybe some of the places I like use soup base instead of bones.

                            It is also pretty obvious that some places use fresher noodles than others, this is one thing that elevates Nam Phuong IMO.