Q: What did the noodle-shop owner say when her place got robbed?
(Answer at the end of the post)
So… On the past two occasions that I’ve eaten out, it has been when I was ravenously hungry, so taking pictures was not on my mind. So no yummy pictures for this post I apologize. Also, tax season has begun so my blogging will be cut back significantly until April 15.
On Saturday I went to Saigon Cafe in Sterling, VA. It’s never been a favorite of mine but always good in a fix, especially when I’m too lazy to make vietnamese food, and crave it. Yesterday I had Pho Royal (pronounced fuh), also in Sterling, VA. Pho is vietnamese beef (or chicken) noodle soup. Below is an excerpt from the Kitchen Bitch which I found particularly true and funny:
I hesitate to use the word “traditional” when referring to this dish; the very nature of Vietnamese cuisine sort of rebuts the word. Phở, for example, takes its name from the French “pot-au-feu.” That dish, which has become the meal that most typifies “traditional” Vietnamese food, is made using French techniques such as the bouquet garni.
But who gives a fuck, right? The important thing here is that the Vietnamese are notorious for appropriating the cuisine of their colonial overlords and making substantial leaps and bounds with their interpretations of it.
Service and decor for both Saigon Cafe and Pho Royal were typical vietnamese. Nothing flashy. But what’s important is the food right? Well at least to me.
- Taste – The husband and I ordered the shrimp and meat eaters salad (goi sua thom thit), crispy pan noodles with beef (mi xao don thit bo), and egg rolls with rice noodles (bun cha gio). Shrimp and meat eaters salad was refreshing and fresh! Can I say that? Well it was true. The shrimp and pork were tender, and the vegetables were perfectly pickled. The fried noodles were divine, crispy and slightly soggy with the sauce (this is a great combination of textures), though the husband and I did have to fight over the two baby carrots and mushrooms. The egg rolls and rice noodles were lacking. The egg rolls were bland (Mama Vu’s are way better), the lettuce was old, and the pickled veggies that came with the bowl weren’t quite as good as the ones that came with the salad, lacked the sweet and sour punch, and freshness.
- The presentation - Again I’m going to say typical vietnamese. Not much to say here either. A feast for the eyes of the knowing stomach, because you know that it’s going to be good, but for anyone else, nothing special.
- The price – Asian eateries are usually pretty cheap. Entrees were from $8-$20. Moderately priced for vietnamese.
The VUrdict: Was surprised by how good the first two dishes, but let down by the third. Like I said before, not the best, but good in a pinch.
The food: May I start with, if you’ve never had pho, PLEASE do not order it from a vietnamese restaurant, it will only be a disappointment. ONLY order pho from PHO restaurants. (This has been a PSA from saVUryandsweet) Oh yes the food…
- Taste – Nice chewy noodles, fresh yummy meats (I had eye-round, brisket, and meatballs), BUT the broth doesn’t compare to Pho 75. It was slightly bitter and lacked the depth of a good broth, one that’s been simmering all day, and has just the right spices and seasonings. I think the husband would like to give a shoutout to my brother Henry, his pho is pretty kickass.
- Presentation – We had takeout because it was 7.45pm and the husband was still at work, pho is always good to look at though. (note to pho virgins: do not get takeout if it’s your first time, it’s waaaay better steaming hot from kitchen)
- Price – WOWZA it was expensive for pho. $8 for a large and $7 for a small.
The VUrdict: Like Saigon Cafe, it’s decent in a pinch because it’s close, but when you want the good stuff, you need to go to Pho 75.
A: I hope he’s gone pho good!
I have to admit, I was WTF the first time she told me that riddle, but the more I think of it the more funny it is. I’m certain in the future I’ll be posting pho pictures and vietnamese food pictures, so if you want to drool stay tuned.