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Pho Lover, Fullerton, CA » wandering tummie



Mar 01

Pho Lover, Fullerton, CA



Do you know what is popping up everywhere these days, other than Starbucks on every block? Pho. That’s right, pho. Pronounced “fuh”, not “foh” or “faw” or “po”. I simply do not understand. Pho (Vietnamese rice noodle soup) is usually not my first lunch or dinner choice. Maybe I just grew up eating it so much that it’s just whatever to me. But it’s become more and more popular in the States as well as the world that it’s almost synonymous with “Vietnamese food“. It’s like sushi to the Japanese, or pad thai to the Thai, or pasta to the Italians. What about the rest of other yummy food they’re also known for? I get it all the time. Soon as I tell people I’m Vietnamese and we start talking food, the first thing they say to me is “I love pho.” Great! 😛

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Anyway, I somehow ran out of ideas of what to pick up for dinner on my way home from work so I resorted to looking for a pho restaurant that I have not been to. Fullerton is the last place on my mind that would have a decent pho restaurant, but Pho Lover has high ratings online so I was curious.

Tucked in a small shopping plaza next to the Little Professor bookstore (where Cal State Fullerton students go and get ripped off on buying expensive books and selling them back for less than nothing.) I stopped in and first thing I noticed was the bright colors and the cleanliness. Always a huge plus for me. I dig the green walls, although they could’ve used a less blinding shade. Haha. It appears the restaurant is owned by a Vietnamese family so there’s a good chance the pho is good.

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They have a sizable menu that has many options for pho. One may get confused on which one to choose, so my advice is just ignore the menu and tell the waiter what you want in your pho. 😀 That’s what I do all the time. Think of it as ordering pizza and deciding what toppings you want. Simple as that. I like my pho with rare steak, well done flank, and brisket, but no tendon. The girl at the counter then suggested I get the “Pho Special” which has all that plus tendon, and she said she can take out the tendon and substitute it with more meat. Wow! How can I say no!? Great service!

For dine-in, they would place the rare steak on top of your bowl and when it comes out, you can pour the hot soup over it to cook it. But for to go, I requested that they separate the rare steak so I can “cook” it when I get home. They happily obliged. I also wanted chicken on top of all that beef and I was surprised it only cost $1 extra. 10-minute wait and my food was all packed up and ready to go. Yippee!

When I got home, I had to reheat the soup a little to make it super hot in order to cook the rare steak in. The thing that caught my attention was that all of the meat was cold. The rare steak, OK, I understand that you have to keep it cold and frozen. But the other cooked meat? I’ve never had it cold like that before so I found it a bit strange. That must mean it wasn’t fresh and they didn’t just cook it at the restaurant? That part was a bit eyebrow-raising. Regardless, it ended up being a huge bowl – lots of noodle and lots of meat. Two thumbs up. The overall flavor? Well, it’s not the ultimate best pho I’ve ever had BUT it was still fairly delicious.

Pho Lover
737 N. Placentia Ave.
Fullerton, CA 92831
(714) 996-0380


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