One taste like a bowl of MSG’d dish water. The other taste like a bowl of oily water with scallions in it.

Both are worse than a bowl of bad sullungtang. It’s difficult to describe how much I hate even a GOOD bowl of sulungtang but.. one can get a sense in this post.

Wasting words on these 2 beasties (and hence this entire post) is a disservice to Timothy Berners-Lee, often attributed as the father of the World Wide Web protocol (no, it’s not Al Gore!).

Loser 1: Pho Kim V

Pho Kim V on Urbanspoon
Pho Kim V was discovered as a tail piece to 3 months worth of Garvey Ave pho crawl (we visited on opening day and had eyed the grand opening from Pho Minh’s parking lot for months). In retrospect, this bowl of soup was on target to being served as the broth base for doggy kibbles. 3 days after initial visit, the the initial thoughts wasn’t so bad. With time, the slight dissatisfaction grew into a tirade. Pho Kim V will go out of biz by 2010. Bet you a 25 Degrees burger on it.

Pho Kim V
9663 E Garvey Ave
South El Monte, CA 91733


Loser 2: Golden Cafe, aka Pho Bac

Pho Bac on Urbanspoon
This particular travesty of Vietnamese restaurant was visited due to a chase of the name sake dish: Pho Bac (Northern style pho). Note to self (and to all): the ONLY edible pho bac remains Pho Filet’s on Garvey. And next time, try the baked catfish instead. It is, after all, listed as a special on the wall banner. Or you can just never return, never visit.

Pho bac is an anomaly to what Americans consider to be delicious pho: it’s subtle, it’s bland, it wants not condiments nor accoutrements, it’s gingery and not heavily punched by anise

This article with origins in SF delineates the greatest pho bac differences. To this day, nothing in LA county even remotely resembles what is served at Pho Filet, a joint not too far from Pho Kim V, a joint previously covered in this space. Turtle Tower in SF, apparently, remains the ever lasting bench mark… Instead of pontificating on this pathetic mishap of a pho bac, just take a look at the picture below. No soft wide noodle, nary a hint of ginger. no minced beef.

PS: The cafe’s full name is Golden Cafe Pho Bac. You can just call it a bowl of crap.



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  • Why put so much time and effort into eating and writing about food you think is so crappy?

  • TonyC

    sometimes, it just upsets me so much when I waste good money on these joints… everyone has the right to know.

  • That’s understandable. By the way, I read the comments from your Open Door post. No matter how much people disagree with your opinion, they shouldn’t make their attacks personal. That’s aggravating, especially when commenters hide behind anonymity.

  • Anonymous

    I actually like pho bac!

  • TonyC

    lolz @ Anonymous. Have you tried.. Pho Filet? Pho Minh? both in the neighborhood?

  • June

    I happen to love Pho Bac. Much cleaner than any place around and they have a good variety. Anyway, you are obviously entitled to your opinion, but the angriness doesn’t seem called for. Families are just trying to make a living, no need to try/wish to put them out.

  • TonyC

    Dear June, thanks for your comment but.. I really don’t give a rats ass “families are just trying to make a living” on this blog. That’s really NOT the point is it? btw, you left no valid email, I’m nuking your comment. (first time ever)

  • June

    Wow…I’m very offended..ok I’m over it now. I honestly don’t see a point on adding my email addy on any blogs since I have no interest in really corresponding with anyone. Nor do I have any interest in you attacking me for voicing my opinion.

  • TonyC

    that’s really curious June… since you felt the need to “correspond” by posting a comment… and you attacked me for voicing MY opinion. But let’s get BACK to the point. Many pho restaurant in SGV have wide menus. You didn’t/couldn’t refute my point on WHY I think Golden Cafe Pho Bac sucked nuts (bad pho) and instead off went tangent. Bygones, yet another gutless commenter.

  • NTH

    Is TonyC relative to Pho Minh? I saw many TonyC’s posts on different sites gave good review to Pho Minh.

  • TonyC

    rest assured NTH, “TonyC” isn’t related to any restaurant owner/operator/partner in all of USA. thanks for your comment!

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