Archive for April, 2011

Parisian Pho

I got to spend 3 months in Paris for schooling and pho was just perfect for the student budget 🙂 At first I was surprised to see so many Vietnamese restaurants; there is practically a quartier! Then it dawned upon me that Vietnam used to be a French colony. There is actually a large Vietnamese population in France, especially in Paris, Marseilles and Lyon.

I read through the Chowhound forums for pho in Paris. Many people recommended Pho 14 located at 129, ave de Choisy in the 13th arrondissement.  The first time I went it was snowy and freezing, yet, Parisians were still patiently lining up. The subsequent times I’ve been there, there was always a lineup. They have a  patio with some heating lamps but definitely not warm enough. The pho gets cold within minutes 😦 Even though the restaurant is fairly small, the line moves rather quickly. There’s not enough space to accommodate big groups. The place seems to attract people all over the world- just standing in the lineup you hear people chatting in many different languages. The staff speak up to 4 languages as well!

The menu was very easy to read. It had a picture of all the dishes and the names next to it. The pictures always get to me and make me want to order everything! One appetizer that caught my eye was the steam crepes.  This dish was amazing; the skin is so different than the thick white ones we have here. It was soft, chewy, and melts in your mouth.  One of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

In my opinion, I think the pho in Paris is tastier than the ones I’ve had in Vancouver. The broth have more flavor and depth. The beef is of very good quality and cut nice and thin. The ingredients all tasted very fresh. It comes with the usual sides- sprouts, basil, and red chili, but they also provide a house made chili sauce.  I was addicted to that sauce! Wish I asked how to make it.

So when in Paris, try the pho! It’s a budget dinner and good break from the heavy French food.  Not to mention a good option when you are pressed for time and can’t sit through a 3hr meal!


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