In St. Petersburg: Bun Bo Hue at Pho 97

Still on the road, and still in search of something decent to eat in a hurry. Pho is almost always the answer.

I head to Ben Tranh, but it’s become Taste of Asia and the sign advertises Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese fare. Hmm. I think I’ll go back a block to the funky pho place I just passed, as specialization should mean higher quality. The restaurant is called Pho 97, and it’s near a dingy hotel and strip club. Ah, true hole-in-the-wall.

The sign outside says they sell bun bo hue, so that’s what I decide to order–though I’m tempted by their other specialty soups: bun mang vit (vermicelli with steamed duck and bamboo shoot), mi vit tiem (special egg noodle Chinese duck soup), and banh tam bi (thick round noodle with grilled pork skin and coconut milk). The soup’s pretty good, though the stock isn’t as rich as I typically get in Seattle. Among the sides that come with the soup is ngo om (rice paddy herb).

Most fascinating is the interior, including its aqua-colored walls and slightly greener curtains (and pink furniture), the plastic flower arrangements throughout the place, and the long counter reminiscent of an old soda fountain. Two TVs show some Disney sitcom; turns out there’s a girl curled up in a booth watching/sleeping. Everything contributes to the funkiness of the place, but the workers there are nice, and you have to love that they serve durian shakes!

Pho 97 Oriental on Urbanspoon



One Response to “In St. Petersburg: Bun Bo Hue at Pho 97”

  1. Larry Wilson
    March 25, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    I love Vietnamese Food since i move down to Tampa five years ago from Boston. There are some pretty good Vietnamese food up in the Boston area but Pho 97 definitely the best one that i have had since ever. My favorite dish is the vermicelli with egg roll, BBQ pork, and shrimp, i think its number 34 on the menu. i also love the Pho there and sometime the Bun Bo Hue.

    Food= A-
    Service= B+
    cleanness= B

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