Pho Thai Hoa

Restaurant: Pho Thai Hoa
Cuisine: Vietnamese/Asian
Last visited: September 25, 09
Area: Richmond, BC
Unit 1101 – 8328 Capstan Way
Price Range: $10 or less1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3.5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Extensive menu, more than just Vietnamese dishes
  • Always wins/voted as “Top 3 Vietnamese places”
  • Known for good pho and great beef broth
  • Good broth, but cheap pieces of fatty meat
  • Overrated
  • Casual atmosphere
  • For me it’s like the Hon’s of Vietnamese food
  • Popular, pretty cheap
  • Great weekday/weekend combos and specials $6.95-10.95
  • Food is decent, but not the best, slightly above good
  • Wide selection of Vietnamese subs “Banh mi” – buy 10 get 1 free offer
  • Soup is flavorful, still has msg, but not excessive
  • Large rice combination plates $10.50
  • Menu includes other Asian dishes such as: Chow Mien,
  • Korean bbq beef noodles etc.
  • Photos of everything on menu

**Recommendation: House Special beef noodle soup, Papaya Salad with sliced pork and prawns, Vietnamese subs (Banh Mi)


Curious to try: Cambodian style noodle soup, Tapioca noodle soup with pork and seafood, curry with bread

I’ve heard a lot about Pho Thai Hoa…mostly all good stuff. I always see it winning awards and the restaurant prides itself as “The Bronze winner for Best Vietnamese Restaurant” compliments of Vancouver Magazine. Maybe my expectations were set too high? Don’t get me wrong – the food was better than good, but it wasn’t THAT good either.

Some stuff was better than others. I tried quite a selection of their menu to get a general idea of their flavours and style. The flavours are there – but the quality is lacking in some areas therefore sacrificing the overall dish. They can’t fool me – I know exactly where they sacrificed to meet profit margins. It is low maintenance Vietnamese food – nothing gourmet – better beef broth than most but also not the best. I’ve had better and I’ll be sure to report back where in future posts. Out of all the Vietnamese Restaurants it does offer the widest selection in terms of menu items though. So you can get all your tradition Vietnamese dishes as well as some Korean, Chinese and Cambodian dishes here as well.

On the table:
  • **House Special Beef noodle soup 4/6
    • Beef balls, beef tendons, beef tripe, beef brisket & rare beef slices with beef broth and noodles.
    • The beef broth is flavourful and quite rich in flavour (not just in msg), but also luke warm. That really bothered me because the beef broth should be piping hot. It’s also a tad on the salty side, and it’s not too oily which is great.
    • The beef was not bad, not quality pieces and the rare beef slices were a bit overcooked for me which is weird because the soup was not that hot. I took the rare beef out form the bottom as soon as I got it to prevent it from overcooking as well. The size of the meats were kind of small too. The broth made up for it though.
  • **Papaya Salad with Sliced Pork and Prawn 4.5/6
    • Shredded green papaya, shredded carrots, slices of pork & shrimp, topped with crispy deep fried garlic and toasted ground peanuts. Served with nuoc cham dressing (that clear slightly orange coloured dressing that comes with spring rolls).
    • I really enjoyed this! Eat it for lunch or share it as an appetizer. It’s hard to find this salad at Vietnamese restaurant, so don’t miss out because it doesn’t come up often. They make it pretty good here too. It’s a great combination – the green papaya doesn’t taste like papaya at all. Green papaya is crunchy and it has a very light and refreshing taste. I hate papaya and loved this salad because it tastes nothing like papaya. The texture and combinations are perfect!
    • It’s crunchy, savoury, tangy, nutty, slightly sweet and ends off with a slight kick from the dressing. It’s awesome.
    • I would have enjoyed it even more if they didn’t sacrifice the quality of ingredients. One complain is that the pork slices were so fatty! That was really gross. You could see it and some of it was slightly pink, which through me off. It was fully cooked though. Definitely cheap pieces of meat, which explains why they’re really generous with it. You get a lot!
    • Also the “prawns” were the pre-packaged kind – and they half them! So it’s the illusion that you are getting 10 shrimp when you’re actually getting 5 shrimp cut in half! That was a bit upsetting.If they gave me decent shrimp and good quality pork this salad would be a 5.5/6 for me.
  • Salad Roll 1/6
    • This was one of the weakest salad rolls I’ve seen. It was SO small. We ordered from the combo specials menu so that could be why, but still. It was half the size of a regular one and there was hardly any vermicelli noodles in it.
  • Chicken Pho 2.5/6
    • Chicken meatballs, chicken on the bone and a quail’s egg with chicken broth and noodles.
    • Not many places offer a chicken option and I had a non-beefeater with me so it was perfect opportunity to try it. To be honest the chicken stock tasted like it was from a can. I think they put it on their menu just to have it as an option, but they don’t expect people to order it so they don’t put any effort into it.
    • It came with kind of pathetic pieces of on the bone chicken (about 1 white and the rest dark meat). The chicken is a really small chicken and the quality isn’t there. You can tell just by the picture. I think it was almost greasier/oilier than the beef pho because the chicken pieces were so fatty and still had the skin on. However, it was a nice surprise to find a hard boiled quails egg as in ingredient. I appreciated that.
  • Banh Mi – Shredded Chicken Sub 4.5/6
    • I ordered the shredded chicken Vietnamese sub. It had shredded chicken, pickled carrots & daikon, cucumber & cilantro on a toasted baguette.
    • I actually really enjoyed this. The best part for me was the shredded chicken and the toasted baguette. I also love cilantro and they gave you a lot of it – so I liked that. 
    • The shredded chicken was very lean and they’re pretty generous with it. A nice bed of it. AND FINALLY a meat that was lean and still flavourful with their own marinade. It had this dry texture and almost tasted like pulled pork or jerky. I loved it.
    • They needed to add more daikon though there wasn’t enough. I would mind a stronger pickled taste as well. When I say pickled it’s not just sour, when Vietnamese pickle their veggies – it’s actually sweet and sour. so I wouldn’t have minded a stronger pickled flavour, maybe let the carrots and daikon sit in the liquid a couple days longer.
    • The bread is wonderful. It’s soft, chewy and a crispy baked exterior. It’s nice to bite into and then you get the crunch of the veggies.
    • I’d go back just for the sandwiches. They have so many options which is kind of rare too. Most restaurant will have a selection of 6. Pho Thai Hoa had 9-10 sub options!


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1 Comment

  • KimHo says:

    That explains why we agreed in our opinions of this place but, of course, since you were able to try more dishes, your assessment is more complete. Good job! 😀

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