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Phở La

By Suvia Li Nov. 8, 2021

Situated in the corner of Santa Teresa Square among a myriad of eateries, grocery stores and businesses is Pho La—a homely Vietnamese restaurant known for its flavorful pho and vermicelli bowls. I was inspired to visit the eatery after reading positive Yelp reviews and scanning its online menu, which displays an assortment of pho bowls, rice plates, sandwiches, beverages and appetizers—including crispy tofu and fried wontons.

As I entered the restaurant, I immediately noticed its classic wooden chairs and white walls adorned with beautiful blossoms and colorful artwork. After being greeted warmly by a waiter and seated at a table, I ordered a plate of egg rolls and the Pho Xe Lua Đac Biet—a special combo beef pho with rare steak, well-done flank, brisket, tendon and tripe.

The egg rolls were served first, featuring a delightfully crispy and golden exterior that gave way to a piping hot filling inside.

Dipped into the supplementary cold sweet and sour sauce, the rolls were perfect in texture, flavor and temperature.

While I was enjoying the egg rolls, a large, white bowl of scalding pho was placed in front of me, with a cloud of steam surging from the top. The pho was served with a garnish plate of fresh herbs including bean sprouts, thai basil and a lime wedge. In the bowl, rice noodles swam in a clear broth, topped with thinly sliced pieces of beef, white onion and cilantro.

The slivers of rare steak cooked as I tossed them into the broth, turning a deep brown hue. The broth had a rich beef flavor, with hints of savoriness, smokiness and sweetness from the onions and an anise-like flavor from the thai basil. The pho noodles themselves were moistened by the smooth broth, yet still firm to the bite and slightly chewy.

The steak and flank strips were soft and melted in my mouth, and the chewiness of the tendon and tripe provided a pleasant contrast with the rest of the dish.

I added a few squeezes of sriracha to my bowl, and the condiment’s slight hint of spice brought out the flavors of the broth significantly. After mixing in the sriracha, I quickly devoured all the noodles and toppings, leaving a half-bowl of broth behind. Using both a spoon and the bowl itself, I sipped up all the remaining broth, captivated by its mosaic of aromas.

From its array of appetizing and comforting dishes to its elegant interior design, Pho La is a top choice for anyone looking to try delectable Vietnamese food.


+ great service

+ variety of menu choices

- location is difficult to find


About the Contributor

Suvia Li

Staff Writer

Suvia Li is a sophomore at Leland High school. She is a staff writer and artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys cooking, eating, and listening to music.

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