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[PDX] Pho Oregon w/out the Pho...

Nick | Dec 20, 200303:25 AM

Me and the Mrs. went to Pho Oregon tonight for dinner. (I wanted to go to Pho Hung for lunch, too, but she vetoed Vietnamese twice in a day.)

The place is a dive. That's fine with me, but be warned people who are wary of dives, because it is one. The walls have big tears in some areas. The floors, chairs, and tables look like they're from a 30 year old cheapo greasy spoon.

All that's fine with me. The food prices are in line with the quality of the furnishings. I go to plenty of taquerias that are dives. I'm not sure I trust a taqueria that isn't to some degree.

As I've said, pho is fine, but I have to be in the mood for it. My wife is the same. Instead we tried an order of salad rolls, she got the bun dau nu (#51), and I got the com tam bi cha thit nuong (#36).

The salad rolls were decent. Honestly, it's rare that I've been impressed by salad rolls. They're either good or bad and much of that is in the quality of the ingredients. These were good. The sauce that came with them was slightly sweet, slightly spicy, a little salty, and a little peanutty. It looked like a mixture of plum sauce, garlic chili paste, and peanuts, but I don't know. I'm not experienced enough to say. $3.50 for two.

The #51 was basiclly vermicelli rice noodles topped by typical raw Vietnamese vegetables, along with fried tofu julienned. It was served with a soy-based sauce. It was decent. I don't know that it was anything special, but it was fine. $6.

My #36 was better, imo. It's the dish trillium describes above. It has a bed of broken rice, a couple big slices ot tomato and cucumber along with the three meats. According to the menu the meats are bbq pork, pork skin, and egg-pork patty. I liked all three. The egg-pork patty has vermicelli noodles and reminds of something somewhere between quiche and meatballs. It's rather peppery, but pretty good. The bbq pork was tasty. It's served on a skewer, cut into thin strips which have been roasted on the skewer, I think. They were tender and flavorful from the marinade. The "skin", if that's what it is, was a bit dry and comes crumbled with something salty. It's Asian food so it could be anything -- dried shrimp, nuts, fried pork skin, whatever. I don't know. But it had an okay flavor. The dish also comes with a side of the broth and a slightly spicy sweet and sour sauce. $6.50.

The menu descriptions aren't very detailed and I'd be very interested to try some more of the non-pho dishes, things like the several kho dishes (beef stewed) served with essentially your choice of starch. I'd also like to try the spicy lemongrass chicken and the bbq beef spareribs.

Although the dishes don't have the Western and haute appeal of those at, eg, Pho Van Pearl, they're cheap enough that I'm interested in exploring more. Hopefully I can get to Hung sometime soon and explore their non-pho menu a little, too.

PS I should note that I went to the Sandy location and supposedly they have opened a second location on 82nd somewhere. The Sandy location is just east of 60th and Sandy.


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