The Pho Q: Who's Got The Best?
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|Look, that's two inappropriate phở jokes in one column-inch!|
I'm talking, of course, about Vietnamese food in general, and phở in particular. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of places to get the soul food of Vietnam; it's available even in places without noticeable Vietnamese minorities, and there are so many phở shops in Little Saigon that there is effectively a price ceiling on the dish.
A survey of the Chowhound boards yields the crown of best phở bò (beef phở) either to Phở 79 or to Phở Thanh Lịch, which sit catercorner from each other at Brookhurst and Hazard Streets on the border of Westminster and Garden Grove.
At each place, I ordered phở tái chín nạm, as the dish most likely to be ordered by người tây (Westerners) without a taste for tendon or tripe. $6 at either place gets you a bowl of broth with the traditional rice noodles, rare filet mignon, well-done flank and beef brisket.
Both places get props for having ngò gai, the long, sawtooth-leaf herb with the pungent cilantro flavor, on their salad plates, and Phở Thanh Lịch gets an extra mention for the dish of ground-to-order black pepper provided; you mix a little bit of lime juice into it to make a paste, then dip your meat in the paste, put it in the spoon, and add a little broth. Perfection.
While I liked the broth better at Phở 79, the quality of meat at Phở Thanh Lịch was so far superior that this week's Dueling Dishes crown must go to Phở Thanh Lịch.
Phở Thanh Lịch, 14500 Brookhurst St., Westminster; (714) 531-5789; no website.
Phở 79, 9941 Hazard Ave., Garden Grove; (714) 531-2490; no website.