Oct 2018

Pho Hai Kieu – San Gabriel

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

I started eating my feelings again this past week. The world is falling apart and I’m drowning my sorrows in fish sauce. On our drive back from procuring pigs’ feet and pork floss at the San Gabriel Superstore this past weekend (I told you I have been eating my feelings), Vernon, June, and I stopped in to Pho Hai Kieu for lunch.

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

The three-year-old restaurant run by Chi Minh took over the former Chung King space and specializes in northern Vietnamese favorites. Considering the busy road on which the restaurant sits, it is quite peaceful inside the dining room.

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

We shared a trio of dishes between the three of us, because over-ordering is our favorite thing to do as a family. I was most looking forward to tasting the banh cuon ($5.50), rice flour crepes stuffed with ground pork, ground shrimp, and scallions and served with fish sauce, cha lua (pork forcemeat), bean sprouts, cucumber, and fresh mint.

The stuffing, slightly different from my family’s go-to ground pork and woodear mushrooms, was heavy on the black pepper in a great way. The thin, slippery crepes magically held on to the fish sauce.

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

Equally solid was the bun cha thit nuong Ha Noi ($8.50), grilled pork patties and pork bits in a vinegar-spiked broth with pickled carrots and papaya. Served alongside was a basket of fresh herbs and rice noodles.

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

The standout dish was the soul-warming chicken pho ($6.75). The pure and flavorful broth was truly tops, while the ginger fish sauce served on the side brightened the tender meat like only it could. I rarely choose chicken pho over beef, but Pho Hai Kieu has made me a convert. When it’s good, it’s so good!

Pho Hai Kieu - San Gabriel

As a bonus, the restaurant served the pho with scissors to snip the noodles for June without us having to ask. It’s the Vietnamese way.

Pho Hai Kieu
1000 South San Gabriel Boulevard
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Phone: 626-872-0328

One year ago: Fair Oaks Burger – Altadena
Two years ago: 
Suburban Years: Lessons Learned in Home Buying
Three years ago: 
Knuckle & Claw – Los Angeles (Silverlake)
Four years ago: 
Flour + Water – San Francisco
Five year ago: 
Xiao Long Bao in Shanghai: Xiao Jin Ling
Six years ago: Proof Bakery – Los Angeles (Atwater Village)
Seven years ago: Dinner at Farmshop – Los Angeles (Santa Monica)
Eight years ago: Flour Bakery + Cafe – Boston
Nine years ago: Corton – New York City
Ten years ago: Cơm Gà Xối Mỡ – Vietnamese Fried Chicken
Eleven years ago: Chuối Nếp Nướng
Twelve years ago: Irish Pub – Philadelphia

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