Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Pho Files: Steak and Brisket Pho at Pho Hoa

Steak and Brisket Pho by raise my voice
Steak and Brisket Pho, a photo by raise my voice on Flickr.

It was a well-meaning friend who took me to Pho Hoa (9723 106 Avenue) what seems like a lifetime ago, that began my pho addiction. Before then, I knew nothing of the large, aromatic, steaming bowls of noodles and meat. I believe I had a cold and ordered pho ga (chicken pho). My life was forever changed.

I headed back to Pho Hoa this afternoon for the first time in years to enjoy a bowl after the Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown. Unlike many of the restaurants in the area which are Mom and Pop operations, Pho Hoa is part of a chain.

I ordered a large steak and brisket. "Large" usually means more broth in a bigger bowl. In this case, it also meant more meat. When it was placed before me, the top of the bowl was almost covered in it. As well, there is usually a disproportionate amount of steak to brisket (like, lots of steak and maybe two pieces of brisket). There was a lot of brisket here, and it was presented the way I like it: thick slices. Reasonably lean, too.

I was still working through the meat, even towards the bottom of the bowl, with its deep, rich broth. The noodles held up pretty well too.

One of the reasons I stopped coming here was a decline in quality that I perceived. I was pleasantly surprised by my experience this afternoon, and will come again based on it. I hope it will be consistent.

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