Monday, November 26, 2012

Oh? An Loi Has Different Pho? Let's Go.

An Loi's pho with kimchi
Variation is the spice of life -- just be clear about out how much spice you want.

Vietnamese soup makes for a great dinner -- either a casual dinner out or great get-well takeout for home.  The standard pho -- which is pronounced "fugh" despite the bad "fo" puns above -- is a beef stock served with several beef options and an array of Thai basil, sprouts and sliced hot peppers that you can use to personalize the dish.

An Loi and Pho Dat Thanh in Columbia both do a fine pho.  I can't claim they match the amazing Vietnamese food that you could get in Northern Virginia.  But I enjoy my basic bowl with thin-sliced brisket and eye-round steak (#P4), and you can't beat dinner entrees at $7.

Two soups -- one with fried chicken
With several weeks of colds this fall, we filled several prescriptions at An Loi, and we went beyond the generic drugs.  Pho with kim chi (#P11) came first.  That can't be traditional Vietnamese, but the flavors paired nicely.  The sour spice of Korean cabbage contrasted with the stock, but it didn't take over.

Then we left the pho page all together for other Vietnamese soups.  Bun bo hue (#H8) comes with vermicelli noodles -- thicker than the regular rice versions.  Spicy soup.  Nose-clearing, virus-killing spicy.  It was exactly what I needed.

Mrs. HowChow mixed up and ordered hu tieu hoac mi ga xoi mo (#H3) -- a soup flavored with minced pork and served with crisp fried chicken on the side.  Cool variation.  Not chicken as special as you can get.  But still proof that you should work around An Loi's menu as well.

Anything else you like at An Loi or Pho Dat Thanh?  Mrs. HowChow likes the lemon grass chicken with noodle (#B6), although the spiciness can vary day-to-day.  Thai and Vietnamese are both great cuisines, and we have good places.  I'm still looking for the great dishes though.  (Updated: I fixed both mis-spellings. I think.)


Anonymous said...

Get your Vietnamese Spell Check turned on! It's named Pho Dat Thanh.

Like you said, not the NoVa quality Vietnamese, it's good for a Vietnamese food fix in the Columbia area. But both places have changed management multiple times in the last several years. The authenticity has suffered immensely

Bethany said...

That looks so good! And now I'm hungry :(

Rob said...

I was sorely disappointed a couple of years ago when the Bo Dun appetizer disappeared from the menu. It was pieces of nicely grilled beef wrapped around minced peanuts and onions and served with nuoc mam. At least they still have Bo La Nho. And in a pinch, the Singapore noodles make a decent Phad Thai if that's what you are looking for and don't want to drive any further.

deb said...

Pho Dat Thanh is a regular spot for us to eat out with friends. I like the basil chicken and the curry (on the milder side), my husband always orders the BBQ pork (B2).

Matt said...

I love the H1 seafood soup and the spring rolls. I order once or twice a week from work...