A Wednesday night at home
Vietnamese Soul Food at home
Dinner for two. It is a concept as old as love. Breaking bread brings people closer together– especially if one chooses to dine in. This writer’s decision to deliver took him on a one-handed smartphone miniquest through Uber Eats. Living in Waikiki has its perks, one being that you have access to great food because of the huge concentration of top notch deliverable options within a stone’s throw distance.
Not gonna lie, we love Asian food. Who doesn’t? We chose to order from a local favorite, awkwardly named Super Pho. In my opinion, not the best name for a restaurant of its caliber. We have ordered from here previously, but tonight’s menu was simple: a Vietnamese Coffee, a Banh Mi sandwich, and your most basic of basics– Pho.
Caffeine that kills: when you order this, look for French Coffee with Condensed Milk and Ice on the menu aka Vietnamese Coffee. Get ready to be impressed. We took sips and were both pleasantly surprised at the depth of the flavors and the mellow richness that lingers on the tongue. Imagine a stronger, bolder, and thicker iced coffee with decadent swirls of condensed milk enhancing the bitter intensity of the coffee. Whether you are a mixer or a straight drinker, you’ll find your rhythm quickly and before you know it, you will hear the sound of empty through your straw. Good enough to throw caution to the wind and order at night, even whilst knowing you might have trouble sleeping later. It’s that good!
Let’s talk about the Banh Mi sandwich. When you order this, look for the Sandwich with Hot and Spicy Lemongrass Chicken. We ordered 1 and split it in half. For us, this was enough. The baguette had a thin, crisp crust and was soft and airy on the inside. The vegetables– sour pickled daikon and carrot and crisp cilantro– were obligatory. The protein was packed full of flavor and carried the dish. I dug it, but didn’t love it. I think it could have been better with a healthier helping of vegetables. I felt like the baguette imposed itself too much on the rest of the elements and took center stage– not exactly what I want in a sandwich.
Finally the Pho. We ordered the Pho with Rare Steak and Beef Balls and like the sandwich, we shared it. If you have never ordered Pho to go, it can be a little difficult to assemble. If your Pho assembly skills are on point– skip! Imagine the broth which comes in a clear container, vegetables in a separate plastic bag, two sauces, and the actual bowl with noodles in it. In my opinion, the assembly will make or break your pho.
Let’s get into it. First, pour broth into a bowl, especially because you want to submerge the rare steak to get it to medium rare. Tip: make sure you get the beef balls floating in the broth too.
The vegetables come next, tear your ginger leaves and Thai basil first and get them mixed with the broth, add the mung bean sprouts, chilis and finish with a squeeze of lemon. You’ll like that you added the sprouts later since it’ll give you a fresh, crunchy hit throughout the meal.
Remember, time is of the essence here. The rice noodles soak up the broth and you’ll lose the texture of the noodle if you wait too long. If you are a dipper like Momo, then you can dip the noodles in the Hoisin sauce or Fish Sauce. If you’re a mixer like me, I add a healthy dose of both sauces halfway through my meal to literally spice things up!
So how does it taste? Simple, stable, staple, restorative Asian street food. Remember readers– this is Pho, a dish served in homes and on the street. A good Pho should hit a beautiful harmony of citrus, salty, spicy, and sweet. The vegetables should be extremely fresh adding to the complexity of textures as you work your way through the medley of vegetables, proteins, and noodles. This establishment retains the soup noodle dish’s humble roots while elevating it through its well-balanced use of star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and coriander seeds. The flavor isn’t intrusive or kotteri. Quite the opposite: it’s refreshing, healthy, easy to eat, and my chopsticks didn’t stop. It was, well.. a Super Pho!
If you are looking for a good meal on a weekday evening or are looking for a casual lunch or dinner, this may be the spot for you.