Nam Phuong- Italian Market/Bella Vista (Philadelphia, USA)
I heard that Philadelphia has the best Vietnamese on the East Coast. Where are they all hiding? So far I haven’t seen too many downtown. So I turned to Yelp and based on the many reviewer recommendations decided to try Nam Phuong. The restaurant is located in a strip mall on Washington Avenue, surrounded by other Vietnamese restaurants, shops and food markets.
We went on a weeknight and found the place to be full of mostly Vietnamese patrons but also other foodies like us who have a deep appreciation for Vietnamese food. And so we were seated and quickly made our way through the extensive menu. We ordered the shrimp spring roll, chicken pho, barbecued quail and diced cubed beef.
The shrimp roll was served first. It was good with generous amounts of shrimp in each of the two rolls. A shrimp roll is typically filled with diced shrimp, rice doodles and basil wrapped in rice paper. It is usually served with peanut sauce and tastes fresh and healthy. This was no different but not superior to any other roll I’ve had.
Next was the Pho Ga or Chicken Pho. It was filled with so much noodles that there was no room to mix the ingredients all in. I have definitely had better.
In the end I only ended up having a few spoonfuls and moved on to the next dish.
The barbecued quail was on the drier side and was not as tasty as the ones we were used to having in New Orleans. The meat was chewy and dry. Needless to say the count picked at every little tiny bone on that poor quail’s fragile body.
But the winner of the night was the beef cube dish or more commonly referred to as the Boc Luc Lax. It was served on a plate of watercress with a tangy salt and pepper dip on the side. It was so good that I barely touched the Pho and polished the plate clean.
The best part: the entire meal cost well under $30 dollars. I found it to be en par with other Vietnamese restaurants I have visited. We both enjoyed our meal enough and saw some other delicious treats being served to other tables. So needless to say I’m sure we will be back unless I find a far superior local Vietnamese restaurant in Philadelphia. Any advice on where to have the best Pho?