Pho Vinh: A Taste of Saigon in Chula Vista!

I consider anyone fortunate who can make pleasant discoveries in their own hometown. Just the other day, I was the recipient of one such discovery. One that was made by virtual accident.

My brother and I had our minds set on having pho for breakfast that particular morning, not bothering to check if the restaurant we were headed to was even open at that time (it was roughly 9:30 a.m.). Once we arrived there, it was quite apparent that they weren’t. Unwilling to make any concessions about our current craving, we then took to the internet to try and locate another pho shop. Much to our dismay, most of them were closed and didn’t open to at least 11:00.
Utterly disappointed, we decided that instead of waiting that long we would go to a Japanese restaurant that was on Third Avenue, roughly halfway across town. Not quite content with that decision, I convinced my brother for a quick glance down Broadway just to make sure. It was a decision I didn’t regret.
There, around E Street, lodged between a dingy autoparts store and a low-grade motel, I found arguably the best pho retaurant in the city—hands down.

Pho Vinh had the outward appearance of any inconspicuous hole-in-the-wall I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, and the best thing about it at that time was the glaring ‘open’ sign staring right back at me, welcoming me in to indulge. Excited that we actually got to satisfy our initial cravings, we raced to find parking and get a table.
The first thing I noticed when we entered was how cordial and professional the greeting staff was. Though when one considers how polite Vietnamese culture is, it really wasn’t a surprise to me. Once we sat in a booth, I took a moment to scour over the menu which, I admit, looked very similar to most other pho shops I’ve eaten at.

Being a creature of habit when it comes to food, I decided to try the number ’13’, which consisted of beef broth, rare steak and brisket, rice noodles, and the usual fixings of green and white onions and cilantro (all for about $6.95). We also added some fried eggrolls, about $6.50, and the most famous sandwich in all of Southeast Asia: the world-renown Banh Mi (for a very low price of $4.95).

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Not knowing what to expect, I was impressed by how quickly we received our food, considering we weren’t the only customers. The food itself surpassed my greatest presumptions. First, there were the eggrolls, crispy and perfect, filled with ground meat and vegetables, served with a sweet vinegar sauce that complimented them completely. Then came our pho, hot, soothing, delicious, and spectacular. A touch of Siracha hot sauce only added to its extravagance. Savoring every swallow, it wasn’t long before I was scraping the bottom of my bowl with my spoon, which then brought me to the final part of my meal: the Banh Mi.unnamed-2
Having been a fan of the sandwich for a while now, my taste buds were completely caught off guard by how all of the ingredients came together brilliantly. The marinated pork harmonized well with pickled veggies and cilantro, and the spicy bite from a fresh jalapeno blended excellently with a firm yet bakery-style fresh French roll. Without hesitation, I can honestly say that it was the best Banh Mi I’ve ever had in my life.

Suffice to say, it’s now a regular hangout for me, especially when I’m in the mood for my favorite kind of breakfast. If anyone is in the area of Chula Vista, I suggest that you check Pho Vinh out.

Locatation: at 349 Broadway
Hours of Operation; 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Phone: (619)422-6189

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