Pho 31 is a recently opened Vietnamese joint on the edge of the Chinese quarter in Toulouse, France. The owner used to run a particularly popular Pho joint a number of years ago. There are at least three other Pho spots in Toulouse. Pho 31 offers a number of other dishes beyond the simple beef noodle broth it takes it’s name from. As a new customer, the owner plies me with a sugar rimmed glass full of
frankly bloody awful house speciality litchi alcohol and I order a bo la lot and a banh xeo. Noodlegirl goes classic with the Pho bo option.
The prawn, onion and beansprout filled Banh xeo arrives with a few paltry greens and a fairly thick layer of grease… It was much the same story for the leaf wrapped dish, bo la lot. However, I’m told the pho was a very beefy triumph – I only got to try a mouthfull of Pho before it was all gone… Back to my order, now I’ve been holding off on Vietnamese restaurant food for maybe too many a month – I get fantastic Vietnamese food cooked for me at home whenever I want it. And, I could’ve predicted the outcome before I made my first order, if you know what I mean.
Neither of these dishes was total crap. But, after a decade in Vietnam, they couldn’t live up to the memory of the Saigon rendition. Maybe that’s not so in California and other places outside Vietnam – and THAT’s a debate we’ve had a number of times. But, when I know I can eat French food at every turn and get great Vietnamese food cooked at home, the desire to eat out in a Vietnamese restaurant outside of Vietnam is virtually non-existent. That said, I’m trying another one tomorrow