No. 36: Hu Tieu at Pho Crystal Noodle House

The grime on the windows suggest that Pho Crystal Noodle House has been there on Bristol Street for quite a while--at least as another pho joint. The artifacts of its former life as Pho Bistro is still on an old marquee the landlords hadn't bothered to change. Apparently it recently changed hands because they're still in that honeymoon period where they give out free bowls of che dessert to every customer. But for all intents, the menu looks no different than what it probably was under the last set of owners. Pho is featured in all the usual permutations; rice dishes and crispy noodles fill in the rest; and then there's the hu tieu, which is what I usually order at pho joints...yes, call me a rebel.

This one is lovely. I opted for mi for my noodle, thin yellow strands that still had a nice al dente chew, and there were more shrimp in the bowl than the picture above would suggest--at least two more. But there was also more char siu, those indispensable slices of red food-colored Chinese BBQ pork that's become the workhorse of soups like this.

There was slowly wilting lettuce and, most important of all, a broth clear and sweet, like sugar was involved. A squeeze of lemon rounded it off and bubbles of fat--possibly leeching out the piece of fried chicken they dropped in there--skittered and gleamed on the surface of the liquid.

Yes, fried chicken. There's a piece of fried chicken in the soup. You gnaw it at first by trying to grip the thing with your chopsticks; but then later, you go to town with your hands. To eat it without licking your fingers is impossible...which is the point of fried chicken, I think.

The list so far:

37. Chocolate Soufflé at Bistro Bleu
38. "15-Minute Wings" at Simmzy's
39. Hot Pots at Boiling Point
40. California Burrito at Taco Pronto
41. Kohryu Ramen at Kohryu Ramen
42. Meyer Lemon Curd at Irvine's Lucca Cafe
43. Cola Braised Pork at Haven Gastropub
44. Shao Shan Tsai at 101 Noodle Express
45. Any Sandwich from Paninoteca Maggio
46. Any Vegetable Platter at Tana Ethiopian
47. Bun Cha Ca Thang Long at Vien Dong
48. Comida Corrida at Lindo Michoacán #2
49. Gordita de Tinga at El Rincón Chilango
50. Lobster Waffle at Bruxië
51. The Scone at Coffee, Tea and Tulips
52. Huarache de Carnitas at El Paraiso
53. Chivito at Puerto Madero
54. Brizio Combo at Brizio Chicago Style Pan Pizza
55. French Toast at Starling Diner
56. The $7 Three-Item Combo Plates at Yu's Garden
57. Gudeg at Indo Ranch
58. Salted Caramel Gelato at N'Ice Cream
59. Live Amaebi at Sushi Imari
60. Any Burrito from Dos Chinos
61. Olive Tree's Iftar
62. Sonoran Dog at Rubalcava's
63. Sizzling Hiramasa Sashimi at The Catch
64. Yakisoba Dog from Dogzilla
65. Crispy Pork Belly from Lucca Cafe
66. French Toast with Bacon at Flurries Shaved Snow Bar
67. The Venetian Roll at Sushi at The Venetian Gentleman's Club
68. Okaki Asparagus at Hamamori
69. The "Fried Egg" at Eat Chow
70. Nam Kao Tod at Vientiane Restaurant
71. Chicken Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar
72. Pig Snout at Tacos & Carnitas Sahuayo
73. Kale and Mushroom Flatbread at 320 Main
74. Congee at King Lobster Palace
75. Fish and Chips at Slapfish
76. Fries at Playground

77. Carne en Su Jugo at La Cocina de Mi Abuelita
78. S'mores at Ti Amo Biscotti & More
79. Broken Rice at Dat Thanh
80. Bulgogi and Potato Pizza at Chicken & Pizza Love Letter
81. Braised Bacon at Break of Dawn
82. Cake Donut at Cream Pan
83. Bistec de Pollo at Mercado El Rey
84. The Rhino at Rancho a Go Go
85. Cabernet Brownies at Blackmarket Bakery
86. Cookie Monster at Lola Ice Cream and Deli
87. Polenta Board at CUCINA Enoteca
88. Falafel Taco at Taco Asylum
89. Wagon-Wheel Bread at THE RANCH Restaurant
90. Toothpick Tacos at Mexico Supermarket
91. Hoppin' John at Memphis at the Santora
92. Free Beans and Chips at Taqueria Zamora
93. Pig in a Blanket Waffle with Gringo Bandito at Cafe Calacas
94. "Pork Hash" at Huong Giang
95. Sweet Chili Chicken Quesadilla At Kogi
96. Licuados at Mil Jugos
97. Hawaiian Ahi Poke at California Fish Grill
98. Takoyaki at Takoyaki Tanota
99. Fiesta Noodles at Jollibee
100. Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevos Estrellados at La Tablita California

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Location Info

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Pho Crystal Noodle House

3037 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, CA

Category: Restaurant

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rawkstar04
rawkstar04

That is the first time I've ever seen lettuce in Hu Tieu..hmmmmm

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