Normally when you think authentic “Vietnamese” or “Korean” or “Chinese”, you’d probably expect the workers, cook, or at least the owner to be of that ethnicity to claim the title “authentic”. So when I first stepped into Hana Pho, I was a little bit on my guard when I realized that the waiters, cook, and owners were all Korean. Boy was I pleasantly surprised when I tried their Pho-- it was PHO-Tastic! I tried the brisket pho, also known as Phở bò chín nạc and it was so tender it just softened instantly upon oral contact. The hot soup was cultivated with a medley of spices: star anise, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, and cardamom, thoroughly infused with beef marrow slow cooked hours upon hours to finally be before us. While the soup is still boiling hot and right before they serve the bowl, the cook would put thin white rice noodles, also called Bahn Rice Noodles or you’ll also hear it being referred to as Bahn Pho Noodles.
The downside to this restaurant is two folds: 1) They don’t rinse their dishes well so the soap suds float in the soup. 2)Once in a blue moon, they’ll serious undercook or overcook their bahn pho noodles, causing the whole pleasant experience to turn 180 . With regards to the first point, my growling stomach and serious penchant for pho flavor seem to overlook this detail. With the latter point, it was so traumatizing that I took a three month hiatus to hunt for other pho restaurants. However, it’s like that ex you still keep around in your life—you know it’s bad for you, but you just keep going back. Blues Traveler said it best, “The Hook brings you back”. For Hana Pho, their brisket pho is my hook.