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Pho Hoa: Vietnamese Noodle House
Reviewed by : Kelvin Ng. Other Foodadvisor Writers?
The largest Vietnamese restaurant chain in North America with a customer base that captures the insatiable appetites of customers well beyond the Vietnamese has its Singapore outlet housed in the bohemian enclave of Holland Village . Pho Hoa is the place to go for a bowl of hot and tasty Vietnamese national soup commonly known as “Pho” (pronounced fuh). And since “Hoa” means “harmony” in Vietnamese, its name also exemplifies the way the restaurant chain markets itself: a friendly family style restaurant where one can enjoy an affordable and nutritious meal.

  • The Vibe
    Step inside the simply furnished restaurant, no frills and free from extravagance. A wall splashed with colourful murals illustrating the owner and his family with a backdrop of famous Vietnamese monuments, naturally becomes its most prominent feature. Should you choose to ‘people watch' over the meal, you may also dine alfresco, just in front of lightly air-conditioned interior.

  • The Food
    Pho Hoa offers a substantially uniform menu consisting of Vietnamese beef noodle soups. Principal entrée items include various grilled meats with rice or vermicelli and starters, in the form of spring and fried rolls, supplement the menu. There are also helpful images of the food for the uninitiated and they serve to both illustrate the items on the menu as well as educate guests on the various beef parts available as choices.

    Knowing your meat is useful when you order their Adventurer's Choice ($11.00). A potent mixture of various beef parts such as brisket, flank, and tendon amongst others, boiled in tasty hot soup, how could you even miss it? With four different combinations available, order your favourite parts and savour them with vermicelli in hot steaming soup. However, the noodles could be thinner and smoother and the flavour of the soup thicker, which is truly regrettable as pho is what we often identify Vietnamese cuisine with.

    Ignore the jerky start and try out their Cha Gio ($2.95), which is a fried minced chicken and vegetable roll. Do remember to dip the roll into the sauce before you take that satisfying bite into its crispy skin. On the other hand, the Goi Cuon ($3.95) is quite a disappointment. Rolled with shrimp, chicken, salad and rice vermicelli, the vegetables seem a tad not fresh and even with the sauce, the taste remains limp.

    The Com Ga Nuong ($8.00) and the Bun Ga Nuong ($9.95) refers to the Grilled Chicken and Grilled Beef respectively. They turned out to be the pillars of Pho Hoa as both were just scrumptious enough to lift spirits. Tender and succulent, and served with the usual combo of rice or vermicelli and a generous portion of vegetables, pho can well take a backseat in our minds for now!

    Also deserving of compliments is their Banh Mi/ Pho Bo Kho ($8.00), Carrot Beef Stew served with Bread or Noodles. Chunks of juicy beef and carrots bathed in rich gravy will impress the discerning diner. Enticing to the palate and delightfully different from the soupy pho, it is a totally inviting item.

    A highlight in their desserts selection is the Vietnamese version of our “Chendol”, the Che Ba Mau ($4.00), also known as the three colours drink. Besides being pleasing to the eye for its attractive colours, it also rejuvenates your senses with its sweet and refreshing taste. Made with coconut milk, sweet corn, and red bean amongst other ingredients, it simply is just irresistible!

  • The Service
    This restaurant opens daily from 11 am to 10 pm. The restaurant has a relaxed family orientated setting. Service is brisk and they are generally glad to oblige your long list of specific requests of less noodles, no onion slices, even something like more tendon less flank pieces in the beef pho for instance.
SD Food Advisor's Take on Pho Hoa
Pho Hoa prides itself for its use of quality ingredients as well as ingredients with a low fat, high nutrition content together with the need for regular eating habits. The tagline, “The Health Conscious Choice” elucidates this idea. Pho Hoa has since terminated the franchise, which had hurt its reputation with their sloppy attitude, and is working hard at winning their following back. However, the current standard still falls somewhat short of expectations. Nevertheless, for its location and affordability, Pho Hoa is still worth the trips.


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