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Austin - Tan Tan - Best pho (?)

  • s

So, I met a teacher friend of mine at Sawadee for lunch today. Good lunch. I need to eat something besides the buffet before I make a final decision.

Sitting at the table next to us was a teacher who now works at the school I once worked at (and friend still does). We invited him over. We talked. He was nice, etc., etc.

As we discussed food in Austin, he brought up the fact that his folks have run a restaurant in Wisconsin for the past 25 years. He then asserted that Tan Tan was the best bowl of pho in Austin.

Anyone know? Anyone have an opinion? I want to know your favorite pho and whether anyone here has tried Tan Tan.

I figure I will give it a try next week.
It's on Ohlen Road. North on 183 frontage road to Ohlen. take a right. Behind the Target is a small complex (with a great Martial Arts studio if anyone wants to get into Kickboxing or Vale Tudo or some other obscure types of the arts). Right next to that is a small strip mall with a washateria and Tan Tan. It's all just down the road from Lanier HS, if that helps.

I'm new(ish) to pho, so I am inclined to take the word of one who was suckled at the teat.

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  1. I've tried about 8 or so pho places in Austin. Tan Tan is my favorite, and I was last there last Sunday. Had a large no. 1 (brisket, flank, round, tripe, and tendon, I think) and licked the bowl clean. Pho Huang at Burnet and Rutland is second.

    Jim

    1 Reply
    1. re: Jim Washburn
      s
      Seamus Mitwurst

      I've been on a pho kick lately.

      I tried Tan Tan and have to agree that it is damn good.
      I don't know if I can declare a winner of best pho in my book.

      I do know that it is best to avoid Pho '75 on N. Lamar near Koenig and the new Half Priced Books.

      Another pho I like is Hoa My, in the strip mall west of I-35 just north of Parmer.

      On the errant noodle tip, I have a cook friend who will berate waiters when she finds one in her pasta. I can't say that it bothers me.

    2. I'm going to have to agree here - I think Tan Tan has the best pho around. The noodles are always cooked just right and not bunched up like a noodle rubber-band ball (also with no errant flat noodles thrown in, like you sometimes get at Pho Huang), the broth is second to none, and the meats are always high quality - get an order with bible tripe and soft tendon (even if you are squeamish about the 'other' meats, they are always top quality at Tan Tan). Pho is one of those dishes that when everything comes together perfectly, it is nirvana in a bowl. I think Tan Tan is extremely close.

      1 Reply
      1. re: David Jordan

        Funny you should mention the errant flat noodle, as I noticed one at one of the Vietnamese places I've had noodles at recently, but I can't remember whether it was Tan Tan, Tam Deli, or Le Soleil. It didn't annoy me, anyway. Just the other day I had a whole catfish at Captain Benny's and found an errant fried shrimp on my plate. I took that as a good omen.

        Jim

      2. Tan Tan gets my vote for best pho, though for overall best Vietnamese I prefer Sunflower or the recently-opened Le Soleil, run by the man who started Sunflower with his wife.

        1. s
          Seamus Mitwurst

          Thanks for all of the responses.
          I gotta skip breakfast one day and try this place.

          1. How interesting. There is a Tan-Tan in Garland, ( Dallas Area) on Walnut. Some friends and I have always asserted it was the best Pho in town, and they open at 9am, so you can eat it for breakfast. They seem to be a little more friendly than most of the apathetic (service-wise) places in Dallas. I wonder if this a mini-chain?

            2 Replies
            1. re: asiantale

              I don't think it's a chain. Tan-tan (sometimes spelled dan-dan) is the name of a style of Chinese noodle dish, so I think that's the reason for the similarity in names...kind of like old-school Chinese places calling themselves "Chow Mein."

              1. re: Kirk

                chinese dan dan noodles are nothing like vietnamese pho though. someone told me tan means to dissolve in vietnamese. who knows.