Pho Bo Ga King takes the crown
Photos by Maxime Lê
By the iconic Somerset Street paifang arch-gates of Chinatown lies Pho Bo Ga King, a restaurant that has earned its name.
Pho Bo Ga King has a very clean but small interior, which makes for a calm and relaxing lunch when it’s less busy. You have to be lucky, though—with only 11 tables, it fills up often. But regardless of the time of day, you can expect service that’s no less than excellent.
The menu features an overwhelming nine pages of Vietnam’s most popular foods. Diners can choose between classic pho, rice dishes, vermicelli bowls, and even some other Eastern favourites like pad Thai.
I started with a crispy and rich Vietnamese beef spring roll, filled to the brim of its fried rice paper shell with ground beef, carrots, and a secret blend of spiced ingredients. The spring roll dipped in fish sauce is an instant classic ready in just four minutes.
What was once considered the poor man’s meal (pho Tai), and what loosely but quite accurately translates to “Vietnamese soup with rare beef,” remains Pho Bo Ga King’s strongest and most acclaimed dish. The perfectly cooked beef superbly melds with onions, Asian basil and other herbs, bean sprouts, and a massive helping of rice noodles.
The secret to the delicious bowl lies in the marinating ingredients. My taste buds gathered hints of cilantro, onion, and a little something else that gives the bouillon its renowned and popular taste.
Whether you’re new to pho or you think you’ve tried them all in Chinatown, you’ll find that Pho Bo Ga King earns its royal reputation.