Pho Da Loi #3: Norcross, GA, USA
Last Sunday I went to eat at Pho Da Loi #3 with a bunch of friends from church after service. It was one of those cold, rainy days that made us all feel like something hot and soupy. I can’t say that pho is my favorite thing to eat on a cold day. For one, many pho restaurants use a pre-mix cube to make the soup stock, and that has a crapload of MSG (monosodium glutamate). You can actually get this cube yourself and make your own pho at home. However, legitimate pho is made from tons of beef bones and brisket over days on low heat while adding a concoction of specific spices.
Honestly, I cannot handle a medium to large bowl of pho. In fact, my family splits a large bowl between two people, sometimes three. So for this lunch, I ordered the combination pho, small size. It comes with a plate of raw bean sprouts, thai basil, and lime as well as a vegetable (dandelion leaf?) that I’m not too exactly sure of. The meat has sirloin, brisket, tripe, and flank. Sometimes I like to order a side of beef tendon meatballs but they are additional to the regular pho. Some people hate the bean sprouts, but I like to shove them all the way underneath the noodles as well as the fresh basil. Then I squirt a wedge of lemon and put a small drizzle of the infamous Sriracha sauce. On the side in a soup spoon, I mix hoisin sauce and Sriracha as a dip for my meat.
The combination pho does not have as much of that MSG taste that a lot of other restaurants have. The small size is perfect if you are a small eater. I would like to have a little bit more meat though with the dish. It felt like it was 65% vermicelli noodle and 35% meat. I ended up leaving a lot more noodle and polishing off the meat fairly quickly. Overall though, I was pretty satisfied with the taste. Was it phenomenal? No, but it did give a somewhat comfortable feeling when eating it. It wasn’t too greasy either like some other places. However, this could mean that they are using a cube for soup stock instead of using brisket and bone like pho is supposed to have.
I also split an order of goi cuon (fresh spring rolls) with shrimp, pork, lettuce, and vermicelli noodles with a friend of mine. One order comes with two spring rolls for $3.50. I’m not sure if this is a great deal, but people said you can never get it for this cheap. I personally have yet to find amazing spring rolls. Most of them are pretty standard, and as long as the skin isn’t dried out and it’s not scantily wrapped, I’m usually “meh” about them. Now that I think about it, I believe that Pho Bac off of Buford Hwy has better goi cuon than Pho Da Loi #3 – I keep thinking that the rolls at Pho Bac were bigger, as in they had more ingredients stuffed into them. They may be a bit more expensive, but I distinctly remember also that there were 3 rolls per order at Pho Bac. One day I will have to just do a spring roll comparison of 3-4 different Pho restaurants to really know the difference.
All in all, a summary of the tastings is as follows:
- Combination Pho, small: *** (3 stars)
- spring rolls (ngoi cuon): ***.5 (3.5 stars)
If you wanted to find Pho Da Loi #3 for a taste of your own:1500 Pleasant Hill Rd
Duluth, GA 30096
Thank you again for your readership and bon apetit!