Archive for September, 2014

Pho-ology 101 – Answers!

In our last post, we showed you the back-to-school quiz our members took. And here is the answer key!

  1. Vietnam
    Bonus: North
  2. F’UH
  3. Pork
  4. Rice
  5. “Noodles”, or “Fire”
    Bonus: Chinese or French
  6. France
  7. Chicken & Beef
  8. Thai Basil
  9. Sweet Basil
  10. A. Hanoi, B. Saigon, C. Saigon
  11. Central

How did you do? Let us know in the comments!


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Pho-ology 101

Did you know that Pho came from Vietnam? Of course you did! But can you answer the other questions that our pholicious members had to on our Back To School Pho Quiz?

  1. In which country did PHO originate? (You better know this one…)
    A. Bonus point: What region did it originate from? (pick one)
    North  /  Central  /  South
  2. How do you pronounce PHO? (pick one)
    F’UH /  PUH-HO  /  F’OW  /  FO  /  FOO
  3. What is NOT in traditional PHO? (pick one)
    Noodles /  Broth  /  Spices  /  Beef   /  Chicken  /  Pork
  4. What type of noodles is in PHO? (pick one)
    Rice /  Wheat  /  Tapioca  /  Buckwheat
  5. What does the word PHO mean?
    A. Bonus point: where did the word originate from?
  6. Where did PHO broth originate from?
  7. What are the two traditional types of meat used in PHO broth?
  8. What garnishes are NOT part of Saigon PHO? (pick one)
    Sweet Basil /  Onions  /  Chili  /  Cilantro  /  Bean Sprouts
  9. Which spice is NOT in PHO broth? (pick one)
    Saigon Cinnamon /  Star Anise  /  Ginger  /  Black Cardamom  /  Clove  /  Thai  Basil
  10. Compare between northern (Hanoi) and southern (Saigon) PHO, which one has:
    A. Thicker noodles?
    B. Sweeter broth?
    C. More herbs?
  11. Bonus point: What region does Bun Bo Hue come from? (pick one)
    North /  Central  /  South
Pho-ology 101
Pho-ology 101

Here’s how our pholicious members did:

  1. Killer Pho
  2. Phonatic
  3. Pho Dac Biet & Evileye Pho (tie)
  4. Phosicist
  5. Count Pho

Here’s the answer key!

How did you do on our quiz? Let us know in the comments!

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Pholicious 94-Pho Ngan

It’s September, and that means: BACK TO SCHOOL PHO! Well all right, not every student is back in school just yet, but no teacher’s strike is going to stop us from eating pho. In fact, we’re going to a place that even has student specials!


Pho combos and specials

It’s been a while since most of us were in school (although some of us never left). But even if we didn’t have student budgets anymore, we still had student sensibilities. Pho-od combos? Yes please! The student+senior combo came with a small bowl of pho, with a spring roll, while the Pho Combo came with a regular bowl of pho, your choice of appetizers, and a drink. It bears mentioning though, that the description for the student special on the menus themselves weren’t accurate, and even the price was different (bleh).

Following the back-to-school theme, we even had a pho pop quiz!

Pho-ology 101

Pho-ology 101

Despite the school-themed festivities, we were there for one reason: pho! Pho Ngan is situated on Fraser street just south of 41st, across the street from John Oliver Secondary School. The interior was cozy, with paintings of Vietnamese farm life on the walls. Despite it being a hot and sunny day, ventilation was quite good, with big windows letting in a fair amount of natural light.

photo 3 (1)

Interior! Quiet at first..

Service was pretty good when we first arrived, with tea and menus being distributed quickly, but as the restaurant filled up, service suffered as it seemed that there was only one server. We eventually got our orders, although there were a few mix-ups, but the pho arrived first, then appetizers, then finally our drink orders. While tea was never refilled, there was a self-serve water cooler available – which our members liked quite a bit.

Regular pho, and student-sized pho.

Regular pho, and student-sized pho.

The portion sizes were larger than average, but the ratio of meat was inconsistent, with lots of brisket, and very little tripe or tendon. The quality of the beef was okay, although one member remarked that the brisket tended to be on the tougher side, although the tendon was soft. The noodles, though generous in size, were a bit over done and as a result, clumped together at the bottom of the bowl. The broth wasn’t quite as hot as we’d like it, lacked depth, and was over-seasoned, which may have been due to the higher than average amount of MSG. It’s also notable that we found slices of ginger floating in some of our bowls, which was missed by their strainer.

Sides.. for 4.

Garnishes came with the typical beansprouts, Thai basil leaves, and limes, which, although serviceable, was a bit lacklustre and on the small side for some of our members. 

The spring rolls had a crispy skin, had a good ratio of filling to skin, and was tasty over all, but it was a bit over-fried. The lemongrass chicken skewer was notably moist and tender, with good flavour.

Surprisingly, our iced coffee and tea orders came back in to-go cups already made, instead of the traditional Vietnamese drip brewers, which was disappointing. The coffee was strong, but also seemed to be on the sweet side with some off-taste with the condensed milk.

Pre-packaged vietnamese coffee

Pre-packaged vietnamese coffee

Here’s our review of the pho!

Regular: $7.00; Combo (+appetizer & drink): $9.99; Student Combo (+spring roll): $5.50
Beef: healthy portion, though inconsistent in quantity
Noodles: overcooked, clumpy
Broth: lacked depth, over-seasoned, medium-to-high MSG level
Presentation:  2 out of 4

Overall:  5 out of 10

Pho Ngan on Urbanspoon

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