Pho Shizzle!

25Feb09

Pho Hong

325 N Winooski Ave
Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 865-8031

Prior to 2009 I had never experienced the delights of Vietnamese food. Always being open to try new cuisines, I heeded my girlfriends request and took her out to a local Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Hong. Prior to our arrival, I was instructed by her to order one of the many types of Pho. Pho is a simple, traditional Vietnamese soup primarily containing thinly sliced meat, rice, and noodles. Needless to say, I was quite hungry and it looked like Pho is what I would be encompassing upon. Pho Hong is one of the few BYOB’s in the greater Burlington area, a very nice change from the typical $7 drafts I would normally be paying for at any other establishment. So before heading off to our destination I stopped at the liquor store to pick up a nice bottle of wine (nice and cheap and large).

Upon arriving at Pho Hong I was far from brimming with anticipation. The place is fairly small and not very aesthetically pleasing, despite the finely crafted plastic fold up chairs we were seated in. Putting my commercial snobbiness aside, as soon as I took a seat at our table and poured myself a hefty glass of wine I was ready to get my Pho on. The menu was fairly diverse, ranging from typical beef noodle dishes, to more exotic pineapple infused spicy pork. As my mind was already set, and not wanting to waste any time, I focused solely on the Pho section.  What I finally decided upon was a meat-filled pho ecstasy, called something which I would not even try and pronounce. When the waiter came to take our order I made it easy and asked for “the number 15”, taking solace in the relatively low price of my scrumptiously protein filled meal.  

Waiting for our food I took a good look around the restaurant. Far from fancy, the atmosphere seemed to be extremely relaxed, enjoyable, and very satisfying. There was a fairly diverse crowd in the tiny one roomed eatery – a middle aged couple to the left, young lovers to the right, and four loud and annoying college somthings behind us. Downing my wine probably faster than I would have liked the conversation we were having blurred time as all the sudden my Pho had finally arrived. First impression: smells quite good…huge bowl… I hate cilantro. After removing all the cilantro I could, I began surreptitiously slurping down my Pho. The meat was tender, the broth was just salty enough, and I didn’t even get any resounding cilantro taste. I was finished with my pho in what seemed like no time. Good stuff. Remaining in my bowl was fatty-like gel which I assumed had come off of the beef slices. Needless to say, I did not eat that stuff. Left over was a large plate of bean sprouts which I eat feverously until we finished our wine. After dinner we ordered a small desert, mango sticky rice. For all those who have never had mango sticky rice, next time you can, order it. Stuff is really really tasty.

Paying for our meal was an unconventionally non-traumatic experience. I think my dish was only $7 – same price as those beers! We left Pho Hong very satisfied and frankly wanting more. The plan is to come back next week, same time, maybe a different kind of Pho.

Rating: 4-phones

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