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Jun 4, 2013 06:23 PM

Larkin St Turtle Tower Reopens (SF)

How was breakfast?

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  1. My breakfast was heart-warming this morning at 8:45 am with a bowl of steaming PhởGa. There's nothing like chicken noodle soup when you have a cold and the clean pure flavors with a squeeze of lemon and slivers of jalapeno made me feel almost well.
    Three other tables were breakfasting. Parking on the street is easy at this time of the morning.
    We stopped by last night but the sign-up/wait list was too long and we went around the corner to Hai Ky Mi Gia for braised duck leg with thin egg noodles. I needed the hot broth for congestion and I gave the duck leg to DH.

    1. We went in early Sunday morning 6/2 at about 8:45. Not many other diners, but they slowly trickled in as we were finishing. Pho just as good as always except a little slower coming out. Oh well, we weren't in a hurry. Obviously working out the kinks. I had pho ga (oh that broth!) and DH had #2 pho with everything. They did add the banh mi that they have on the menu at the one on Geary and the one in SOMA, but we didn't try it. We had been underwhelmed by the sandwiches from the SOMA branch. So happy to have our Sunday morning breakfast spot back. Who needs omelets and potatoes? I can make that at home.

      1. Does TT version of PhoGa come with the plate of aromatic herb shavings (see the 1st pic on the linked post at the bottom. I can't name any one of the herbs unfortunately but if someone can it would be great)? A plate of shaved herbs I had in VN along with the noodle soup was such a perfect marriage that for me PhoGa is no PhoGa without it. Is this a regional variation? Is it the sourcing that makes it difficult to be available in the states?

        6 Replies
        1. re: Kurtis

          The herbs are definitely available in SF; you can buy them at the Civic Center and Alemany markets and at various grocers. In my experience (not at TT but in NA in general) they are usually served whole to be torn up by the diner. Sometimes a place may not have a wide selection or won't serve the ones lesser known here to people who don't look like they will appreciate them.

          1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

            Yes, there's definitely a wide range of Southeast Asian herbs available in the Bay Area, and presumably also in LA. There's a significant number of Southeast Asian immigrant farmers in California serving these communities. However, I'm guessing these herbs are not widely available in other parts of the US and/or are more expensive because they're shipped in as specialty produce and so not widely offered. I've also had the experience that, as a white person, I've not been served all the herbs the restaurant had (which were available when I asked for them).

          2. re: Kurtis

            I am continuing this search on the General Topics board to get a broader input. As you probably know I am looking for something different than say sprouts, basil, lime, and cilantro as usual garnish for Pho. I have not had the fortune of encountering this in the states tho most of my Pho experience in the states is in NYC which doesn't help. Appreciated your inputs.

            1. re: Kurtis

              IIRC, the pho at TT is northern style and does not come with herbs on the side.

              1. re: Civil Bear

                Correct: jalapenos, lemon/lime, and sprouts only. I think there is usually cilantro already added to the bowl too.

                The only place in SF that routinely serves additional herbs with pho bo is Ha Nam Ninh and that's only ngo gai/culantro. I'm not familiar with which other herbs might be commonly used in pho - I seem to remember dill being a possibility in Luang Prabang, but that might be a Laos-only thing.

                1. re: bigwheel042

                  Thai/Vietnamese basil is often served with pho. Shaved onion, au ram and vietnamese perilla/shiso sometimes. I think some herbs are considered to be too overpowering, since you should be able to taste the nuances of the broth.

          3. The original comment has been removed