Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pho 2000, Saigon

Pho bo dac biet

This shop's claim to fame is the fact that Bill Clinton dined here some time ago, which in some ways worried me, since it seemed that they were playing off of that angle rather than the quality of the food itself. Indeed, this place is located smack in the middle of the city next to the big Ben Thanh Market, thus further suggesting to me that maybe this place spoke more about fashion over function. Nonetheless, the play worked, as it pulled us in here out of sheer curiosity. Would the food hold up though?

In general, yes. My pho bo dac biet arrived in a whopping sized bowl, complete with a (light) broth that was comparable to what I'm used to from back home, if you don't find it odd that I'm comparing a local dish to stuff from California. Sure, the meat balls were a bit smaller, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. They didn't bring out bean sprouts by default either, but in the end, this is the least that I would demand of a good refreshing bowl of pho, and it got inhaled pretty quickly as a result.

Anyway, that's all. I can mark that one as the third Bill Clinton restaurant for me then. What's next?


Dominic said...

Thanks for sharing your adventures.
I have been reading your blogs whenever I need to find a dinning place. Your reviews are very well done.

Yep, I agree with you that Tony B has the greatest job too.

I'm planning a trip to Siagon sometime mid year with. The fresh herbs are a must in Vietnamese dishes. From your account, you did not had any tummy problems eating those uncooked fresh herbs. So, would you say there are generally safe to eat for urbanites? (oh, I'm bringing students over, so I gotta be a bit careful)

D said...

I did a taste test between pho2000 and pho24 and felt that pho2000 came out on top. Pho24 seemed to compromise on food quantity for some "frills". Funny how pho2000 didn't serve you the beansprouts though. If you order the meat (thit) upsized version, they do give you ALOT more.

Anonymous said...

I wish someone did compile a list of restaurants that Clinton's been to. I've followed him thru Saigon, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow... Yet to fail.

bma said...

Surprisingly, I haven't had any cases of stomach problems for a number of years now despite some potentially questionable meals (knock on wood). Maybe I've hardened up my immune system over the years through all of this street food though, so I suppose that it really depends on the individual.

I would think that shoving herbs into pho should be pretty safe, especially when dunked into the boiling hot broth. If it's any added reassurance, Pho 2000 seems much cleaner than the average streetside stall, and yes, there were a lot of tourists there too.

little79bear said...

I can vouch for Pho 2000 as well both for the taste of the food and its cleanliness. The servings are large especially if you order one of the special ones with extra bits in it and the broth is especially tasty even by vietnamese standards.

I've been to Pho24 and to be honest it feels a little bit like the Pho version of Mcdonalds. The food is consistent in taste whereever you go in the country and the places are always clean but my memory of it is always that it seems to be missing that something special both in taste and atmosphere that I found in other smaller places (with the exception of Pho 2000 which isn't small).

I've travelled through Vietnam a couple of times now and it is one country where (touchwood) I've never had stomach problems. It's not to say that it can't or won't ever happen but places were generally quite clean.