"Pho Real" Vietnamese food in South Charleston

Har har. Please indulge my cheesy food humor. Seriously. The pho jokes are endless. But I digress.

The Hubs and I recently discovered pho.

Last winter, I made the recipe for it in my The Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper cookbook. (On a side note, this cookbook is no-fail. Do yourself a favor and buy it. Now.) I’d never had pho before, but I’d watched Anthony Bourdain eat it a number of times on No Reservations. If you’ve followed the show for any lenght of time, you know how much he loves his pho. Mine was actually pretty good.

Flash forward just last week, and we again found ourselves ogling Tony Bourdain slurp up some pho. I said to the Hubs, “Ya know, that pho I made wasn’t bad, but I’d like to actually try it at a restaurant sometime.” Like any shameless Generation Y’er, I made some words to that effect my Facebook status. Within minutes I had at least a handful of recommendations on where I could have some pho in the comments.

South Charleston!! Wait, South Charleston?!? Yep. Pho Real. No really, Pho Vinh Long on D Street.

We stared out with an order of spring rolls. They were delish, but I was surprised they had shrimp in them. I don’t think the description mentioned shrimp, and it’s something I try to avoid ordering unless I know where it came from. But they were good anyway. They came with a miso dipping sauce that was sweet. It kinda reminded me of the peanut butter and syrup sandwiches we used to get on vegetable beef soup and sandwich day in elementary school. But I put a little bit of sriracha hot sauce in it and it was divine!

I’m admittedly not familiar with Vietnamese cuisine, and I didn’t recognize any of the dishes on the menu except for pho. There were several different kinds of pho, and I went with the combination version. It had three kinds of beef in it: london broil, meatballs and something else I don’t recall. The Hubs stayed safe and ordered the same. I’m not sure if that’s what we got, but what we got was so, so delicious.

It came with the lime, jalepenos and bean sprouts on the side (much better with bean sprouts than when I used alfalfa sprouts–but that’s what I had on hand), but I noticed there was no cilantro. Eh, no biggie. I added just a little bit of sriracha and it was perfect. The Hubs added too much and his was a little too hot, even for him. We both slurped up those rice noodles and commented about how filling the dish was. The price was pretty reasonable, too. We spent about twenty dollars for two spring rolls, two large soups and Jeremy had a soft drink. I will definitely be back, especially for a bowl of that piping hot, steaming soup once the weather turns cold.

All I can say is, thanks, Josh, Lindsay, Jody, Drew and Brian for pointing me in the direction of Pho Vinh Long! To borrow a phrase from a fellow pho lover, the food was pretty “pho-king awesome!”

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