There is no shortage of pho in Philadelphia, with several options to grab a bowl all over town. Heralded as a popular hangover cure, this traditional Vietnamese soup consists of savory broth, basil, mint, rice noodles and thinly sliced chicken or beef. Though I didn’t need to quell a raging hangover, I stopped for dinner one Sunday afternoon in South Philadelphia at Pho 75, a popular pho spot in an unassuming location that Anthony Bourdain once visited while filming No Reservations after a night of heavy drinking in the city.
Located in a Vietnamese strip mall on Washington Avenue, Pho 75 doesn’t look like much from the outside and has an equally unimpressive interior to match, equipped with cafeteria-style tables and stackable chairs. After being seated quickly, my dining companion and I were given menus offering nothing but pho, beverages and four desserts; there are no appetizers and no rice plates. Our server only spoke Vietnamese, but pointed to the No. 1 option after we asked what he recommended.
The dish, costing $6.25 for a regular portion and $6.95 for a large portion, came out within minutes of us placing the order and included eye-round steak, well-done flank, soft tendon, fat brisket and tripe in a steaming bowl of broth with a heap of thin noodles accompanied with a plate of different toppings. After sprinkling scallions, basil, lime and Sriracha on top of my bowl, I dug in with my chopsticks and enjoyed every last bite until I was too full to eat another noodle. The brisket was perfectly tender and the broth was especially rich and delicious, not needing any additional Sriracha or hoisin sauce to make the dish flavorful.
Lingering over complimentary cups of tea, we both agreed Pho 75 is a true diamond in the rough and worth a visit if you’re craving pho and find yourself in South Philadelphia. Word of caution: Bring cash, as the restaurant is cash only, and avoid the chaotic, tight parking lot and find parking on a side street instead.
1122 Washington Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
tel 215 271 5866
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