Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picky Pagan #3: Pho Tay Bac in Brea, CA

In the past couple years, Pho has exploded as a popular food among carnivores. It used to be that you would have to go to an ethnic Vietnamese part of a major city to find a pho restaurant. Now there is there is practically one pho restaurant in every city, and sometimes a lot more. Being a fan myself, since I was young, I have always looked for a good pho restaurant in every new place I live in. Being picky in your selection pays off because, often, these restaurants will attempt to use cheap ingredients, powdered stock and poor cuts of meat. For a while, I lived in the Fullerton/Anaheim area of Orange County, which is right next to Westminister. Westminister is contains probably the largest population of Vietnamese in the Southern California area. Along with this comes great pho restaurants. However, sometimes I would not want to drive the 50 minute round trip down the 22. Eventually I started looking in to possible locations to satiate my pho lust in town. I quickly discovered that the majority of the spots in Fullerton were of pretty poor quality. To the north of Fullerton lies the city of Brea (not to be confused with La Brea in Los Angeles). On the border of the two towns there is a small shop situated in a tiny strip mall off of Imperial and Arrow Drive called Pho Tay Bac. They make their pho broth nightly from scratch, using real bones and fresh ingredients. All pho places put MSG in their pho, so the trick is to find the ones that rely more on quality ingredients than the flavor enhancer. Pho Tay Bac has been able to minimalize their use of this product. Their cuts of meat are always decent and their vegetables are always fresh. The staff is also very friendly and helpful. Their other food items are also very tasty. I suggest trying everything that catches your eye, their banh mi is pretty decent. It is not my favorite place (I'm partial to Pho Hoa in San Diego), but as far as Fullerton/Anaheim/Brea goes, its my choice. It is Korean owned though and some of the food could be considered to not be made in the authentic Vietnamese style. Nevertheless, you can always depend on a fresh, clean and tasty meal.

Rating: 4.4 broomsticks out of 5

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