May 2015

Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

In the mood for Northern Vietnamese fare, The Astronomer and I, along with our friend Courtney, headed to San Gabriel’s Phở Ngoon for lunch. The newish restaurant, which is located in the same plaza as Boston Lobster, offered a lovely change of pace from the Central and Southern Vietnamese cuisine that we tend to favor.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

Upon arriving at the modernly appointed restaurant, we were seated promptly and presented with menus. The one-page bill of fare was awesomely concise, consisting of just three starters and ten mains. We shared five dishes between the three of us.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

First up was an order of pho cuon ($3.50), a dish that was super-trendy in Hanoi circa 2008 when The Astronomer and I lived in Vietnam. Comprised of thin rice noodle sheets wrapped around lettuce leaves, grilled beef, and fresh mint, the pho cuon was served with nuoc cham for dipping.

While I didn’t care too much for this dish in Hanoi, I quite liked Pho Ngoon’s more robust rendition.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

I couldn’t resist ordering the Com Rang Dua Bo ($8.90), a homey stir-fried dish of thinly sliced beef and mustard greens served with fried rice. The seasonings here, heavy on the black pepper and fish sauce, tasted just like home.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

Also excellently executed was the Bun Cha ($7.90), a quintessential Northern Vietnamese dish consisting of charbroiled pork patties and pork belly soaking in a fish sauce bath with garlic, chilies, and pickled daikon and carrots. It was served with vermicelli rice noodles and plenty of lettuce and herbs. Mmm!

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

My favorite dish of the afternoon was the Nem Cua Be ($8.90), beautifully blistered egg rolls filled with crab and pork and served over cool rice noodles. I loved how the plump rolls were shatteringly crisp, even when wrapped in herbs and lettuce and dipped in copious amounts of fish sauce.

Pho Ngoon - San Gabriel

The final dish of the afternoon was the Bun Dau Mam Tom ($7.90), an uber-funky collection of fried tofu and thinly sliced pork shank served over noodles with herbs, lettuce, and mam tom (shrimp paste sauce). This one punched us in the face with its glorious fermentation.

Phở Ngoon is a fantastic addition to my all-star line-up of Vietnamese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley. Woot!

Phở Ngoon
741 East Valley Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Phone: 626-872-2729

One year ago:  St. John’s Rhubarb Crumble Cake
Two years ago: Southern Mini Town – San Gabriel
Three years ago: Whole Wheat Strawberry Cake
Four years ago: 20 Hour Staycation: Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Five years ago: Bar Pinotxo – Barcelona
Six years ago: Church & State – Los Angeles (Downtown)
Seven years ago: Bo Innovation – Hong Kong
Eight years ago: 
Ting Wong – Philadelphia

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3 thoughts on “Phở Ngoon – San Gabriel

  1. Bun dau mam tom is sooo trendy right now. It’s on a lot of the menus for northern style viet food. The best rendition so far can probably be found in Santa Ana at Pho Co Hanoi (Old town Hanoi, not pho noodles hanoi…lol) They have all the requisites and not just boiled meat with noodles and mam tom.

  2. Anh – Whoa! That’s really cool, especially considering how pungent the sauce is. I’m familiar with the ingredients and flavor profile of the dish, but don’t know too much about bun dau mam tom. What else is in it?

  3. I believe in VN they also have the addition of jellyfish, innards (usually pork), and cha com (pork paste ham made with the addition of flattened young rice).

    Pho Co Hanoi has the fried tofu, fatty pork, and cha com but not the jelly fish or innards. They also make their vermicelli noodles into cakes and cut them up into strips which just is so dainty and fun to eat. But central to it all is their mam tom. It comes out frothy probably from the hot oil that they pour over to “cook” the shrimp paste. The chili peppers and lime are left on the side for you to add to taste. They definitely don’t hold back on taste and their presentation is just adorable too…^_^

    //s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/jW0TqkPtXEXG3v8zcJncAw/o.jpg

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