Pronounced “fuh,” it’s a traditional Vietnamese soup that’s as hearty as it is comforting. Yes, people, we are in fact talking about phở -- slippery but firm rice noodles drenched in a big bowl of piping hot, beefy broth laced with cloves, cinnamon, and charred ginger. There’s also always chunks of fine meat that stand up to the broth, as well as bushels of herbs, bean sprouts, and lime served on the side for your adding pleasure.
So while Japanese ramen may be getting tons of attention these days, it’s safe to say that phở has also become hugely popular amongst American communities, with many single family-owned establishments dotting all fifty states each boasting their own unique tastes and flavors. Savor something delicious, complex, and truly different this winter season by slurping up something fresh, light, and easy to love. To make it super simple, we’ve tracked down the seven best phở shops in the United States. Get slurping!
Love Pho? Head To These U.S. Restaurants!
1. Turtle Tower - San Francisco
It’s a legend in the Bay Area and might as well be awarded for having America’s best chicken pho. Ever. All of their gourmet dishes are carefully prepared with love to preserve the flavors of Northern Vietnam, using only fresh free-range chicken, high quality beef, and freshly-made noodles that swim vivaciously around in a broth that blows any other chicken broth out of the water. Bean sprouts, cilantro, scallions, and jalapeños round out the awesome experience. So if you’re looking for authentic Hà Nội-style Vietnamese cuisine, this is the spot for you.
Turtle Tower is located at 645 Larkin St. in San Francisco, California.
2. Miss SaiGon - San Francisco
Another S.F. favorite is this Vietnamese restaurant, which serves what may very well might be the best bowl of pho in the entire Golden Gate city. The filet mignon pho is always made with huge slices of real filet mignon, crisp vegetables and herbs, and a broth that’s as light as it is rich. Since opening up shop eight years ago, this cool and funky Mission gem continues to pack in crowds on a daily basis. They’ve got a lengthy long menu of Vietnamese classics that’ll blow you away.
Miss SaiGon is located at 100 6th St. in San Francisco, California.
3. Pho Bac - Seattle
There may be hundreds of pho shops in Seattle, but this not-so-distinct boat-shaped hole-in-the-wall noodle spot is seriously hard not to fall head over heels in love with. The pho at this joint has no-frills whatsoever—with a natural simmering broth that’s never overly spiced so that the flavor of the beef takes center stage. Add on a bunch of thin-sliced raw onions and herbs, plus a nice tangle of noodles and you’ve got yourself a soupy delight that’s good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Pho Bac is located at 1809 Minor Ave at Denny Triangle in Seattle, Washington.
4. Tan Dinh - New Orleans
When in New Orleans, noodle lovers tend to flock directly to the newest and best pho shop in the city, Gretna’s Tan Dinh. It’s been family-owned and unchanged for more than two decades, offering rich and flavorful pho that’s even tastier when you double up on the beef flank and brisket with plenty of bean sprouts, mint leaves, and sliced jalapeños on the side. A variety of other authentic dishes round out the extensive menu at this choice for Vietnamese fare.
Tan Dinh is located at 1705 Lafayette St. in Gretna, New Orleans.
5. Pho Filet - Los Angeles Area
The true stars of Phở Filet are, of course, their filet mignon and phở bac. Unlike other versions, their soups are a distinctly gingered affair, boasting pronounced blasts of cloves in each slurp that you take. Though the flavor is stronger than most, it really is absolutely delicious-- though a purist may prefer opting for a lighter version over at nearby Phở Huynh or Pho Ha. Still, it’s southern-style phở is at its best—so get your grub on with some superb phở tai (phở with thin slices of filet mignon). Make sure to ask for the meat on the side so you can slowly add pieces into the scalding hot and deeply flavorful broth to cook as you please.
Pho Filet is located at 9463 E. Garvey Ave. in South El Monte, California.
6. Pho Binh Trailer - Houston
It started as a single family owned restaurant, but their name quickly became popular with the Vietnamese in Houston’s community because of the truly authentic ‘Pho Bac’ taste that many critics have agreed to closely match the original Pho that began in Hanoi, North Vietnam.
Today Pho Binh has seven restaurants in the Houston area, has been voted one of the best in the nation, and continues to lure in pho fanatics near and far on a daily basis. Featuring a rustic mix of trailers, porches, barred windows, and a lovely view of the drainage ditch out back—not at all the best site to be had—this family favorite hotspot manages to stay on top by offering fresh, hand-made rice noodles (some of the best in the country!), wonderfully sweet and vibrant herbs, and tons of beefy add-ons that are particularly rich-textured and deep-flavored.
Pho Binh Trailer is located at 10928 Beamer Rd. in Houston, Texas.
7. Pho Danh - Houston
This other Houston star may sit in the back of the Hong Kong City Mall but also offers a true pho experience. It’s always uber packed, and for good reason, as the restaurant dishes up huge bowls of flawless pho that are always loaded with super-fresh herbs, freshly-sliced meats, and a nice tasty broth that’s kept simmering for days to maintain its balanced, dark, and rich flavor. Warm your heart and soul with some pho, y’all.
Pho Danh is located at 11049 FM 1960 Rd W in Houston, Texas.
This article was written by Pamela Chan.