Pho Dai Loi #3: Lawrenceville, GA, USA
There and back again with one of our top three pho places in Atlanta. This time, I wanted to try Pho Dai Loi’s beef stew, bo kho. It’s very similar to most Asian beef stews, filled with chunks of carrot and beef tendon. Truthfully, I prefer this a lot more than western beef stew mostly because of the tendon. Somehow that ligament just traps in the flavor of the soup a little better than sheer meat.
You can order pho bo kho with egg noodles or with rice vermicelli noodles. I like to order vermicelli noodles because rice noodles soak up the soup a lot more than egg noodles do. Some restaurants will also serve it with the traditional french loaves. There are tons of spices that go into this soup, and you can order the seasoning powder nowadays from a good Asian grocery store or even online. Some of the spices include: paprika, chili, fennel, onion, star anis, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, and clove. Crazy eh? But that’s what makes it so good!
Anyways, pho bo kho comes in three sizes at Pho Dai Loi #3: medium, large, and extra large. An extra-large is definitely shareable, but I ordered a medium and finished it all! BAHAHAHA. Here’s the rundown:
Pho Bo Kho (with meatballs)
- good amount of meat shank and tendon as well as carrots
- soup was super flavorful and rich, not watered down: I have had some watered down pho before and it tasted like it just had salt added to kick up the flavor but no “beef” heartiness.
- soup was also not overly salty or super seasoned: this usually happens when it’s the end of the day and you have gotten the bottom of the pot. I hate getting “the bottom of the pot” because it’s full of the dregs and meat strands.
- nice amount of noodle: not too much where all the soup gets soaked up after five minutes of the dish arriving at the table, but not too little where you’re not full.
- not enough meatballs 😦 I ordered this as an addition to my bo kho, but I only had three pieces. My heart was sad.
All in all though, it was a good beef stew. I’d definitely go back again. Truth be told, all the Pho Dai Loi-s in the Atlanta suburbs are spot on. PDL #2 is probably my favorite followed with #3. Lee’s Bakery though comes in top for their combination egg noodle. So yummy. All in all, I’d probably give PDL #3’s pho bo kho ***.85 (3.85 stars). It’s a good solid beef stew! You can find them in Gwinnett a little ways down the road after the 85-Pleasanthill Exit:
1500 Pleasant Hill Rd, Lawrenceville, GA 30044
They do have multiple locations so if you’re closer in the city, you can check out PDL #2 off Buford Hwy: