Welcome to another edition of Mastication Monologues! Even though I recently talked about my visit to a Vietnamese eatery to sample some pho (See Phonomenal), today I will be talking about my dining experience at Pho Hoa located in Itaewon on Itaewon-Ro heading straight out of exit 2 for about 10 minutes. Here is their website.
While my friends Ravi and Carolyn were in town, we were running all about Seoul seeing the sights, but with all of that traveling we managed to work up a serious appetite. Ravi wanted to try this Korean vegetarian place that consisted of traditional side dishes served to you in a tapas style meal. However, when we got there, there was a wait for a table since it was a very small establishment, so we decided to walk back up the street to find another place to eat. We eventually settled on Pho Hoa since it was close by. All I knew is that I wasn’t going to eat pho again, so I looked over their rice dishes. During my search, I did notice that the pho bowls they offered were more authentic than Pho Mein’s they provided you with cilantro, jalapenos, bean sprouts etc. I settled on the pork rice in the end (10,000 Won) along with a Saigon beer (4,000 Won).
When both of them came out, I was more interested in the beer since it looked more intriguing.
However, I didn’t have my hopes up since Asia really isn’t known for their quality brews. I was correct when I found out I was sipping on a pale lager that had a very small head and really devoid of any flavor. As for my food, I found it as unspectacular since I recognized the bulgogi (which is beef, not pork) residing next to the mound of white rice. At least the egg roll was Vietnamese, and it was delicious with its golden, flaky wrapping and fresh veggie innards. One of the main reasons why I disliked this meal is because it was so bland and the rice was not fully cooked. Thankfully, after a couple generous dollops of Sriracha sauce, I ate every spicy spoonful. The meat was a bit better than average since it had an interesting sweet aftertaste, but some pieces were a bit on the dry side. I could tell this was a plate specifically designed with Korean audiences in mind due to the lack of severely spicy elements that are more common to Southeast Asian cuisine. I’m sure if I got one of their pho bowls, I would have been more satisfied. Overall, it was an average meal that could have been better if I went with one of the safer options like pho.