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[Revisited]: Pho Season

It's been a while since I've been to a pho restaurant. It doesn't mean I haven't been searching for new places, I just haven't found anything truly noteworthy. Maybe Shanghai has moved on from t...
2010-11-03 12:11:00


It's been a while since I've been to a pho restaurant. It doesn't mean I haven't been searching for new places, I just haven't found anything truly noteworthy. Maybe Shanghai has moved on from the great pho craze of 2010, Q1...

I had tried Pho Season when it first opened earlier this year, but wasn't impressed enough to slot an entry in on it, so I let it pass. This user review made me rethink my initial assessment, and I headed back for another try. Incidentally, she has some nice pictures on her write-up as well, so you can get a better look at the place.

Pho Season offer up (probably) the most expensive bowl in town, clocking in at 58rmb for a special, but the owner, Ly Heng (also of Nova restaurant), is going for high-end authenticity, so, allegedly, we're getting what we pay for. The overall menu has come a long way since their opening, and there are more items and choices for pho available, up from just the one variety they were initially offering. Worthy to note also that they've also got a lunch special for which they toss in two spring rolls with your pho at no extra cost.

And yes, I'm happy to say I enjoyed their pho the second time around. The broth was clean and clear, and exuded all the right, mouth-watering aromas I remember from growing up. To taste, perhaps, the broth was a little too peppery, and maybe it would be better to leave it out and let the diner add it in to their liking. The beef balls and beef slices didn’t disappoint, and were an appetizing texture -- not like the hot pot beef that so many pho restaurants use. The noodles could have been fresher, but yeah, overall Pho Season definitely offers up with of the better bowls of pho in town. As for the Vietnamese coffee which I am quite particular about, it needs quite a bit of work, to put it nicely. If it's not strong, thick and chocolaty, it shouldn't be called a Vietnamese coffee.

When you throw in all the other little details at Pho Season, it's an easy place to recommend. Atmosphere is nice and relaxed, it's usually not crowded -- I get turned off by crowded shoulder-to-shoulder restaurants and don’t like to wait -- and hey, they've got room to park my bike.

My Saturday morning ritual is to wake up, make my own Vietnamese ice coffee at home, walk my dog, and clean my bike. Then I zoom on down to Dagu Lu for some pho. In my eight years in Shanghai, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a place that’s good to fit into my Saturday ritual…

Other pho stuff: There's that Pho 8 place in People's Square -- gotta try that, Pho Sizzling is open in Hongqiao, and they tell me there's a new pho restaurant where Otto uses to be called Pho Asia. We'll give that a shot as well...

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Pho Season is at 427 Dagu Lu, near Shimen Yi Lu.

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