Chilly Weather = Prime Phà²-Slurping Weather

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

phò tai

phò tai

When the sky is grey and the chilly fog rolls in off the bay, there is one thing that is guaranteed to make me feel better: a big fat bowl of hot phò steaming in my face.

After trolling Little Saigon in search of the perfect bowl of phò tai, I am excited to report that Bodega Bistro has got just what I need. Hands down, the best noodles around, their thin rice noodles are cooked al dente, the rich broth tastes as if it has been simmering all day, the strips of rare steak are tender and fresh, and the traditional southern Vietnamese style toppings of green onions, coriander leaves (a.k.a. cilantro), bean sprouts, Thai basil, and lime wedges adds a bright freshness to this bowl of yum. Put together a little dipping sauce of hoisin and sriracha for your meat, and you are ready to start slurping away (unlike at some other establishments where they don’t even offer hoisin upon request!…ahem ahem…Turtle Tower…).

If you are craving more of a meat medley, the phò dac biet (or as Bodega Bistro calls it, the phò bodega sur demande) is also excellent with slices of rare steak, brisket, and beef meatballs. Oh, I failed to mention that the phò tai is actually not on their official menu, but trust me, it’s there and waiting for you.

Strangely, also not on the menu is the bún riêu…hmmm, perhaps it is so good they want to save it all for their in-the-know clientele? And themselves. If so, I wouldn’t blame them. The bún riêu was a knockout – rice vermicelli with flavorful chunks of crab, shrimp paste, and tofu swimming in a tomato broth that had a bit of heat to it.

bún riêu

bún riêu

And don’t forget the cha giò. Don’t ever forget the cha giò. These crispy Vietnamese spring rolls are stuffed with crab meat, jicama, and wood ear mushrooms, deep fried to satisfying crispiness, and served with leafy lettuce, a side of rice vermicelli, mint leaves and pickled carrots. Wrap it all up, dip in the little bowl of nuòc cham (fish sauce mixed with lemon juice, sugar, and chili pepper) and revel in the exquisite balance of savory meatiness, sweet herbal aromatics, bright acidity, and textural variety the Vietnamese have mastered in their cuisine.

cha giò

cha giò

So when SF throws some wind chill at you, you know what to throw back at it. Phò…lot’s of it, and mass quantities of other heart-warming, stomach-filling, Vietnamese feel-good food.

ADDRESS

Bodega Bistro
607 Larkin St
(At Eddy St)
San Francisco, CA 94109
415-921-1218


View Larger Map

Stumble It!
Posted by Stephanie at 2:59 pm

11 Responses to “Chilly Weather = Prime Phà²-Slurping Weather”

  1. [...] Chilly Weather = Prime Phò-Slurping Weathercha giò. cha giò. So when SF throws some wind chill at you, you know what to throw back at it. Phò…lot’s of it, and mass quantities of other heart-warming, stomach-filling, Vietnamese feel-good food. … [...]

  2. Jeannie says:

    i like your take on pho tai.
    i even tell them to leave my beef on the side
    so the meat does not get so cooked. delice

  3. Stephanie says:

    Jeannie: what an excellent idea!

  4. Chris says:

    Bún riêu and pho! Two dishes that I could live off of forever. I have my parents make bún riêu at least once every two weeks. I might have to post a recipe soon!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Chris: homemade bún riêu whenever you want! lucky dog. do let me know when you post the recipe! i’d love to try my hand at it :)

  6. Chris says:

    Definitely, I’ll be sure to let you know once its posted!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Chris: Awesome :) i look forward to it!

  8. [...] was a deal for the Ferry Building, but kind of a jip for Vietnamese food. For a real pho craving, Bodega Bistro is still my fave. However, all in all, a decent light [...]

  9. Larry says:

    You just changed my lunch plans for the day. I would have been perfectly content to have whatever soup our (admittedly pretty good) cafeteria was serving, but now I need a pho tai fix. Bad. I wrote an article called “The Pho Experience” in my blog awhile back. Fun read, particularly for “the rest of the world” out there who are unclear on the concept. For us, it’s nirvana in a bowl!
    Thanks,
    Larry

  10. [...] Beef Pho Tai at Bodega Bistro is one of my go-to comfort meals in town. The broth is rich and flavorful, the strips of rare steak [...]

  11. […] Pho Tai at Bodega Bistro is one of my go-to comfort meals in town. The broth is rich and flavorful, the strips of rare […]

Leave a Reply