The story below is from our May/June 2015 issue. For the full story download our FREE iOS app or view our digital edition for FREE today!
With four fine dining rooms featuring distinct and distinctive offerings, there appears to be a trend around Roanoke. Here's the take on Pho Saigon.
It’s time for me to make a mid-year prediction: 2015 is and will remain the year of Vietnamese cuisine in Roanoke. It’s been a slow storm brewing, with new restaurants opening every year since 2011, but the Star City is now home to four different diverse and delicious Vietnamese restaurants. Whether you’re looking for a steaming bowl of phở on a chilly evening or a quick lunch sandwich during the work week, whether you live in Vinton or Northeast Roanoke, options abound for a gustatory trip to Southeast Asia – all without hopping on a plane.
Put Your Best Pho Forward
In 2011, lovers of phở, the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup served with a light, herbaceous broth, rice noodles, various cuts of meat, and garnishes of cilantro, Thai basil, sprouts, lime, sriracha, and hoisin, rejoiced when Leanna Cao opened Phở Saigon’s doors. The restaurant is sparse – a large, open dining room with plenty of booths – but the phở is rich and vibrant.
Each version offers the same salty, spice and herb layered beef broth, but it’s easy to order a milieu of additions ranging from thin-sliced “fatty” beef flank to soft tendon and tripe for the more adventurous. For seafood lovers, there’s even a light shrimp phở which is wonderful when dressed with plenty of cilantro and basil.
I find myself drawn to the catchall combination of Phở Sai Gon (#14) which includes sliced steak, meatballs, flank, soft tendon, brisket, fatty flank, and tripe, and offers up a little bit of everything good you can put in a phở—the only trick is managing to eat the entire, giant bowl!
Pho Saigon | Market Square East, 3420 Orange Ave NE, Roanoke | 540-904-7070