Finding good, authentic Vietnamese pho has been surprisingly challenging in Shanghai, a city full of amazing food from seemingly all other parts of the world. When L.A Pho opened up in Star Live Mall in Hongqiao and I heard whispers of the best pho in Shanghai, I had to see for myself. I jumped on the train and trekked out to the Hongqiao area.
While there are choices for higher-end “nice” pho restaurants, L.A Pho strives to meet the taste requirements of those of us who’ve been spoiled with yummy pho in LA and Westminster, where there’s a large Vietnamese community who knows what’s up! L.A Pho also carries and sells real Sriracha sauace (check out that shelf), an imported good made right in LA! It’s a staple back home in the U.S., but rare in pho shops here. So you can imagine my excitement…
FYI: Sriracha is not only good for pho, it tastes amazing on pizza, pastas, mac n’ cheese, basically everything. You can find it in Shanghai at L.A Pho, the Avocado Lady, or expat grocery stores like Ole.
So while the hunt continues for Bun Bo Hue (my favorite type of spicy Vietnamese noodle soup), I can settle for good beef noodle soup for now! I ordered the one with raw beef, meatballs, and tendon. After so many disappointments at other pho restaurants, my bowl of L.A Pho was a winner! The broth was on point – flavorful, yet clean-tasting. The noodle texture was superb; I’m very sensitive to overcooked/soggy or undercooked/stale-tasting noodles. These rice noodles were amazingly perfect vs. melting or clumped together (you pho lovers know what I’m talking about!) The most surprising part was the raw beef slices, which even after being cooked thoroughly in my hot soup, tasted better than at many places I’ve been to back home. The beef tasted buttery and tender, like quality meat. And they didn’t skimp like many other places where you have to dig around for those 4 measly meat slices.
My husband had the pho ga (chicken pho), which had equally amazing broth and noodles; however, the dry shredded chicken left much to be desired. If L.A Pho could serve up sliced Hainan-style chicken like some other places (Aniseed Pho in Xintiandi comes to mind), they’d have the perfect chicken pho in Shanghai! Extra points if they’d let us request dark or white meat like in L.A.! Hey, a girl can dream. We also ordered a side of spring rolls, which was good and brought us back to our old Cali pho experiences. Vietnamese coffee came in a traditional drip filter as it should, and tasted just right.
In conclusion, 50 RMB for a bowl of beef pho with quality ingredients that’s on point in taste? Worth trekking out of my neighborhood for, in my foodie book. Bun Bo Hue, I’m still waiting to find you in Shanghai… but until then, I’ll enjoy what L.A Pho cooks up.
L.A. PHO / Hongqiao Road, Shanghai