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Dec 7, 2013 01:36 PM

Sate beef noodle soup - pho ha tien on ocean avenue [San Francisco]

So, yesterday in the rain and cold we found ourselves at our standard pho place:pho ha tien. Its good, solid vietnamese food close to my house and hits the spot when i need it too.
Normally i get the same thing every time, but yesterday i looked over the menu again and noticed an item that intrigued me: sate beef noodle. Its only description, a spicy pepper symbol and the words "includes coconut milk and peanuts".
I went for it and it was awesome. I ordered it with egg noodle. I cant stop thinking about it. The bowl came out with a bright red slick of hot oil floating on top and a pile of rare beef, thin sliced onions and chopped roasted peanuts. The broth was amazing! Coconutty but not sweet, spicy, but not burning, i added lime, i added basil, i slurped and slurped and ate until every thing was gone. My husband watched with a sly amused smile.
just thinking about it is making my mouth water. I have had a lot of spicy soup noodles, but i have never had a bowl of soup noodles like this, with this nice heat, but still so refreshing and comforting.
i just thought i would share it with y'all.
Have a nice day.

Pho Ha Tien
1900 ocean ave

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  1. Thanks for the report! I'm excited to hear what you think of other versions of this dish in the city. I had it a long time ago at Hy Ky Mi Gia in the TL. But there are several other places to get it!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      Thanks dave, all i have ever had at hy ky mi gia is the duck leg noodle soup.
      My foray into spicy noodles has only just started in the last 6 years when my spice buds changed suddenly....
      So its always fun to find a new version that i then need to find everywhere and see which is the best.

    2. Glad to hear the positive report. I've typically found this dish to be a bit too peanut-ty/one-note after several bites/slurps at other restaurants. Sounds like your version may have actually had some heat to it.

      1. I've never had that particular dish, so I can't comment on that at all, but it's not the kind of place I would go out of my way for based on what I've had.

        It does really good repeat business from what I can tell, with students popping in along with locals, but the food itself is...well, it's tasty, and weird at the same time. If you're in the area, it's a good option that gets overlooked and nothing I've had there is bad at all, but it's still not somewhere I've ever thought to recommend.

        7 Replies
        1. re: sugartoof

          I wouldnt say that this is a place to drive out of your way for, but this is the first time i have had this dish and it was so pleasing, i just thought i would mention it. If people see it anywhere else, i would recommmend trying it and that i hope it is as enjoyable. I have no idea if it is a good version, since its the first time i have had it, but it hit alll my pleasure zones in my brain, so.....i think it was good....:)

          1. re: jupiter

            Your post inspired me to revisit the dish, this time at Hai Ky Mi Giu at Ellis near Larkin. It's a Chinese soup joint, so I knew it would be somewhat different than what I was used to.

            The beef and egg noodles came in a thick peanut broth that wasn't too rich (there wasn't any discernible heat either). A nice touch was that it was topped with fresh tomato, cucumber and cabbage, and it came with a clear chicken broth on the side. Not sure what that was about except that maybe it was to be used to thin out the satay broth if needed.

            All in all it was a pleasant offering.

            1. re: Civil Bear

              Interesting! That sounds nothing like what i ate, as my broth didnt have any flavor resembling peanuts, except for the roasted peanuts on top. My broth was actually very thin and light, although it looked like it would be much heavier. And there was definite heat. There was also cucumber chunks in my soup, which i loved. And some thin slices of lettuce. But all the vegetables were down in the broth with the noodles, and clearly thrown in raw as they still had crunch to them and hadnt cooked into mush yet. The beef was all piled raw on top with the onions and cooked in the broth.
              If you enjoyed this version at hy ky mi gia, then i would recommend that if you are in that civic centerish/union squareish area for lunch again, to swing down to Old Siam and try their weird version of khao soi. The broth is definitley of that thick curry ilk and thinned down with chicken stock, but the rest of the assemblage is spicy and noodley and pickley and delicious!
              Holy moley, now im hungry again, and it is 10 pm!

              1. re: jupiter

                Hmm, interesting to hear that the Pho Ha Tien dish you're talking about is so different from the dish at Hy Ki Mi Gia.

                I'll try to make it down to Pho Ha Tien soon to try this dish too. Haven't been there yet, and it's not too out of the way for me.

              2. re: Civil Bear

                What's the name/number on the menu? Is it #19?

                1. re: osho

                  At Pho Ha Tien, it's item number 10 on the menu.

                  i don't know what it is at Hy Ki MI Gia.

                  1. re: osho

                    At Hai Ky Mi Gia it's either #21 or #22 depending on the type of noodles you want. I tried #21 with the thick egg noodles (cho fun?).

            2. This post spurred me to head for my nearest sate beef noodle soup source, San Sun Restaurant in Chinatown. Their sate sauce is made by the Malaysian wife of one of the principals and is so highly regarded it is bottled and sold onsite. The broth in the sate noodles has a respectable spice heat level, and a nice smoky peanuty, garlicky background. There are eight different satay noodle soups, including a basic beef noodle soup, which I went for. You are faced with San Sun's usual wide choice of noodle types, and the server recommended wide egg noodles (which happens to be my default choice at San Sun). It's $6.75 for a bowl, with free tea included. There's also free wi-fi, which happens to be pretty fast.

              1. I had not seen this post -- but by some amazing noodly coincidence I had the same dish today for a late lunch (and I'm still stuffed).
                We ate at Vien Huong in Oakland Chinatown
                712 Franklin St
                (between 7th St & 8th St)
                Oakland, CA 94607
                (510) 465-5938

                I've passed by this place at lunch time many times and there was always a line out the door. So I went recently for a late lunch, and again today. I tried the "beef saday fun" soup. Lots of thin sliced beef. The broth was loaded with what I assume is crunchy peanut butter. It was sufficiently spicy so that I did not have to add any seasoning -- though it was bit of a one-note dish; I dipped the beef slices in a side dish of vinegar. A bit expensive ($8.75).