A nice big bowl of Vietnamese rice noodle soup (pho) may seem like a simple thing, but there are so many elements to the broth that’s much easier to find a “sub-par” bowl of pho than it is to find a really good one.
So a good broth is simmered all day with beef bones and parts, and spices like star anise, cinnamon and five spice. Mediocre bowls of pho have broths that are not simmered for long periods and lack depth, spice and true meaty flavor. Boring.
PPQ (Pho Phu Quoc) in the Sunset District is my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco. They make a lovely pho with a broth that has lots of complex deep flavors. They even use Angus quality beef, which makes a big difference over other places.
But, what I really love to order is their Chicken Curry Pho. Man, is that a nice hot bowl of yumminess. It is so damn tasty with that mild broth base that’s full of a Southeast Asian style curry (think Thai or Singaporean). Along with that is the subtle flavor of lemongrass and kaffir lime and a whole lot of chili oil! Man it’s spicy! But it is so worth it.
They even simmer the white meat chicken pieces in that broth, they don’t just dump it in when you order it. You can tell because the meat is so tender and totally tastes like the broth. I hate when white meat chicken tastes like rubber or is dry and flavorless (blech!).
My husband loves their Crispy Five Spice Chicken, and I can’t blame him. It is so incredibly tender, juicy, and full of sweet tasty flavor. It’s so good. You can get it with cold rice noodles, over rice, with a bowl of pho, or as a side dish. Order it. It IS that good.
I love a bowl of classic beef pho and PPQ does it well, but these other dishes can sometimes steal the show. But that’s not such a bad thing.
PPQ (Pho Phu Quoc) – 1936 Irving St. (@ 19th Ave), San Francisco – 415.661.8869