Vietnamese Food: Friend or Pho?

We bombed the crap out of Vietnam in 1956 and Vietnamese chefs have come to America for revenge.  Their feature dish is called Pho.  I didn’t know that Vietnam had food and yet here they are ruining the wonderful experience of public dining in my country. How to even describe my experience… the “best” Vietnamese restaurant in my area was found in something like a ghetto within middle class suburbia; the crappiest, dirtiest, hoodest, scummiest strip mall in this town.  We (husband, myself, brother) parked the car as close to the restaurant window as possible; our car had already been broken into once this week in the same area.  If the outside of the place wasn’t a deterrent, the inside should have been. We managed to get to the door without being jumped, passed a gnarly looking cork board covered in what looked like 2 years of junk mail from Mexico, the second door appeared to have an accumulated 1000 years of germs.  The decor was minimal, not in a cool chic IKEA way but in a we-don’t-give-a-crap-how-dumpy-this-place-looks kind of way. Totally acceptable…if you have the food to back it up.  DIRTY DIRTY DIRTY!  Tables, worn out and sticky. Chairs, sticky. Walls, dirty and sticky.  Condiments holder, dirty and old and sticky.  Serving counter, dirty, disorganized and cluttered and probably sticky.  There’s was this display case with canned goods and such inside that really looked like supply closet overflow.  Ghetto TV.  Oh my word the windows… filthy and smeared with an unknown substance that causes unwanted items to stick to it. If that wasn’t enough to make us leave, which for some reason it wasn’t, the food did the trick.   

 Appetizer: the pork eggrolls were dry, flavorless and way too flaky. I couldn’t find the pork let alone taste it and I have no idea what I would equate their appearance to, dog treats? Pho: basic broth, a stuck together hunk of noodles at the bottom of the bowl, thin dry pieces of meat, and none of the veggies on the side were fresh.  Now my husband especially is very open to trying new foods; it wasn’t a good sign for the Pho when he started loading it up with every condiment he could find on the table to give it SOME flavor.  

 I am bewildered by how many people we were dining next to us that Saturday night and am convinced that they must have all been paid to be there.



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