Billed as "Vietnamese-Chinese". Definite bent toward the former. Cool name.
Small, non-descript joint housed in one of those endless, labyrinthine covered malls in Chinatown . Menu is extensive, including everything from noodles (pho, bun, mi) to porridge (chao) and broken rice dishes (com tam). One section devoted to vegetarian choices, an entire back page containing various drinks and shakes. The Quanabana Smoothie (Sing To Mang Cau) gives ms rabo flashbacks to her Cuban childhood. Nothing over 9 bucks, most things under 5.
Things start off well with an order of excellent cha gio phan (egg rolls). Rusty brown in color, very crunchy, served with humongous fresh leaves of lettuce, marinated daikon and carrots, and sliced cukes. With a good dunk in some sweet-funky nuoc mam, egg roll-burrito nirvana is achieved.
I get Bun Bo Hue, a fiery stew of pork blood, ham hock, marinated beef and rice stick. It's a wild looking bowl of food, a noodle-soup Jackson Pollock. Good flavor, hotter than hell---a multi-napkin sweat festival. The noodles are plump, cylindrically shaped, and a very convenient vehicle for delivering the deep red broth to far flung locales (my clothes, for instance). The hock is mostly gristle and skin, but other than that, a very comforting and satisfying rendition.
Ms rabo goes for her staple, pho tai. Served up with the usual sidekicks, including the saw-toothed herb, and giant purple leaves that look and taste like Japanese shiso. Ms rabo is not particularly thrilled with her pho, claiming the broth lacks flavor. Not their strong suit here, I suppose.
All this plus one ca fe sua da (excellent and jitter-inducing) for 22 smackers. We'll be back to try some other stuff, like their Hainan Chicken and the "Fried Chicken Wings with Fish Sauce". Yeah, Kid!!
Au Pagolac Cholon
861 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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