With the return of below-freezing wind chills also comes the return of what I call ‘Pho Season.’ You may not like the icy chills penetrating your coat but you will like the warmth of a large bowl of good pho igniting your inner furnace and expelling to numbness from your extremities, at least until you have to leave again. Not only that, but it’s one of the best meals you can get for a ‘fast food’ price.
On this particularly cold day, we were in the neighborhood of
Silver Spring and decided to warm ourselves up with a hot bowl of pho at Pho-Hiep Hoa. We ordered one large bowl of pho and a combination platter, which contained grilled beef, chicken, and pork. Once the hot pho was plunked in front of me, I immediately began mixing in the sauces. We had a few sips of broth, bits of beef, nipped a few noodles, then discussed our opinion. The pho wasn’t bad (though we’ve had better here ), we did notice where it could be better. The flavor didn’t seem quite complex. I’m used to flavors swirling around my mouth, catching a little bit of each part. This broth seemed little more than beef broth seasoned with hoisin and chili sauces. The noodles also seemed a cut rate quality. Again, not that it was bad pho, but the noodles were quite easily mashed with my tongue. They didn’t break apart in my bowl or anything like that, but they just seemed to lack (how should I phrase it….noodle integrity?) something that other places have. But in the end, it was okay and I did not feel cheated out of the $8.95 extremely large bowl of pho for dinner.
Now onto the combination platter, was it good? Yes. This was the better of the two entrees. We decided to go with the lunch size portion because the bowl of pho was so large. Always remember and never forget (as my 7th grade English teacher would always say) to use every drop of fish sauce. This adds such a pleasant tang to the grilled meats, greens, and vermicelli. We wondered if this was a southern Vietnamese place, since the salad style dish was good.
Will we go again? Probably not. I am confident I can speak for us both when I say we’d rather return to Pho Real.