Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dining Out: Pho One in Honolulu

Lemon Beef Salad w/Jellyfish
We're not very experienced eaters of Vietnamese food, but we do enjoy chicken Pho and lemongrass chicken.  Recently we made friends with a young gal who's parents are from Vietnam...she is fluent in Vietnamese.  Great gal, very nice and intelligent...oh and generous.  I always tell her she has an old soul, wise beyond her years.

Pork Plate
Our friend offered to share her culture via tradiational Vietnamese cuisine at Pho One in Honolulu (near Ala Moana Shopping Center).  We couldn't refuse!  She knows the owners of the restaurants and knows they make their own chicken and beef stocks from scratch, clean the vegetables one by one and by hand, etc.
Special Beef Pho

We asked her to do the ordering and we got some fabulous dishes:  Lemon Beef salad with Jellyfish, Beef Phở and a dish that wasn't on the menu, Bò lá lốt...more on this dish later.  She also ordered a dish with broken rice (small grains of jasmine rice), pork chops, shredded pork and Vietnamese pork meatloaf.  The Vietnamese steam their meatloaf making it light and fluffy and looks more like a piece of dessert (pretty) was very tasty.

Bo La Lot
First came the Lemon Beef salad with Jellyfish.  Very tasty dressing, the lettuce fresh and the onions mild.  The beef is served rare.  The male half of this couple doesn't get excited about food, but he claims this is the best salad he's had in a long time.  Next came our Beef Phở was one of the better bowls of Pho we've had, but we could've done without the tendons, tripe and whatever other piece of beef was in there.  This Pho is served with raw thin slices of meat also...our friend asked the waiter to have that meat served on the side so we could put the beef in when it arrived at our the meat doesn't was a great idea.

Rolling Bo La Lot
The last dish is the female half of this couple's favorite dish...Bò lá lốt, the meat portion is beef rolled in a pepper leaf.  At Pho One, they serve all the ingredients on a pizza pan, you roll the ingredients in rice paper yourself.  The tray comes with very fresh ingredients and it was recommended to us to lay down half a leaf of lettuce as the base (on the rice paper which you dip quickly into warm water), followed by the rest of the ingredients in whichever order you prefer.  The rest of the ingredients were: bun (noodles, cake form), the meat portion, pickled vegetables, basil and mint (leaves only).  Roll like a burrito tucking ingredients in so the rice paper isn't loose.  Dip the roll into the fish sauce holding it close to the top or else after you take a bite, everything tends to fall out of it.

It was quite an experience...but a great one.  We were too full to try the three layer Vietnamese ice time we think we'll just to the salad and Bò lá lốt.

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