Insatiable Girl

TAIPEI: Pho 越粉舖

Posted in taipei, taiwan by sue on October 13, 2008

B2, No. 11, Songgao Road
(02) 8789-3388 ext 1919

PRICE: $$ (approx. NT$300/person ~US$10/person)
RATING: ***(I recommend this place!)

DIRECTIONS: Take the MRT to City Hall
MENU: English and Chinese!
Spring rolls

I wouldn’t say that I’m a pho-connoisseur, but I think I have had my fair share of good pho– actually just Vietnamese food in fact. I have always eaten Vietnamese food since I could remember– there is a local one near my parents’ office that I can remember going to when I was in elementary school and we still go there. Of course, there were a few places back in New York that I would frequent with my friends (Thai Son and Pho Bang). And then there was my short stint in Vietnam for Semester at Sea where I had a wide variety of Vietnamese foods from the fancy restaurant at the Renaissance Hotel to the small hole in the wall places in random alleys. Needless to say, sometimes I have a craving for good hearty bowl of pho.

So imagine how excited I was when I saw this Pho restaurant at the B2 level of one of the Eslite buildings in the A4/A9/A11 section of Taipei. Joe saw how my eyes lit up when we saw this restaurant, so despite his craving for Western food we made our way here. The decor of this restaurant in this large food court is simple and modern. The chairs fit snugly underneath the round tables. The menus are laid flat for passerbys to see, as well as the large images of Vietnam on the walls. I was sold.

I was a big disappointed when I first looked at the menu though. Although they had a number of pho bowls to choose from, they didn’t have what I wanted. I wanted the one filled with beef, tendon, and tripe, but instead all I found was beef, beef balls, curry, or shrimp. I stuck with the first option figuring it was going to be as close as I would be able to get it to my usual bowl. So I ordered that and spring rolls. Joe got a chicken leg curry with French bread.

Everyone who dines at this restaurant gets a small bowl of pickled cabbage, which I think is more of a Chinese thing than Vietnamese (correct me if I’m wrong). It was tasty, but I was anxiously awaiting my noodles.

When they came out, I noticed right away the beef wasn’t raw like they normally are at restaurants I’ve gone to in the past. Part of the fun of eating pho is seeing the raw meat cook in the soup, but oh well it’s not a big loss. Usually at Vietnamese restaurants, they give you a plate of basil, bean sprouts, lemon, and cut jalapenos to add what you like in your soup but here the basil and bean sprouts were already added with a small slice of lemon on the side. After adding lots of lemon to my soup, it finally tasted similar to what I was hoping for. The noodles were a bit thicker than usual and the beef was not as soft, but it gave me my fix.

The spring rolls, however, were right on the money. They were exactly what I was used to down to the lettuce wrap and the sauce. I devoured the plate and was still left thinking if I wanted to order one more.

Joe’s chicken curry was great and the bread that accompanied it was a good touch, but curry isn’t something I would order at a Vietnamese restaurant.

I would come back to this restaurant again, but I don’t think I would bring Allison here if she were ever in Taiwan. =)


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