~Review by Asia Guy
383 State Street, Salem, Oregon, 97301
Phone- 503-364-2004, Hours: Mon-Fri, 10am -9pm, Sat, 10am-9pm, Sun, 11am-7pm
(Note: I understand that Chuck recently reviewed this restaurant for lunch. My review is to give the reader my spin on dinner and to sample some other dishes.)
The first thing I noticed upon entering Super Pho’s new downtown location was a series of three clocks on the far wall indicating the time in Salem, Bombay, and Tokyo. What, no Saigon or Hanoi times? One might think this Vietnamese restaurant is experiencing a touch of identity crisis. However, as I and my dining companions soon learned, this was not the case when it comes to their menu and food which are both solid and excellent.
Pho noodle soup originated in North Vietnam and is commonly eaten anytime in Vietnam. Super Pho’s version of this Vietnamese cuisine mainstay is uncommonly good. Order your preference from a vast menu and out comes a bowl of steaming soup loaded with your choice of various meats (ours was beef), rice noodles, and a rich, fragrant broth. As if this wasn’t enough, a plate of bean sprouts, herbs, lime, and hot pepper accompanies your Pho that you may choose to add to your soup. It is totally up to you to create your masterpiece with these additions, so go for it!
Feeling feisty? Ok, another noodle soup to try is Bun Bo Hue, which is like Pho on steroids- spicy, hot and loaded with lemongrass, beef, and round noodles. It is unique, complex, and it does pack a serious punch! Super Pho’s version is the best my Vietnamese partner and I have had anywhere- even in Vietnam! Bun Bo Hue is not found in many Vietnamese restaurants (Pho is King), so hat’s off to Super Pho for having the nerve to bring it out and place it before us appreciative eaters. Makes me wonder what’s next- Thit Kho, perhaps?
No soup for you? Then perhaps Bun Thit Nuong will suffice. This southern Vietnam noodle bowl comes with bean sprouts, herbs, and shredded lettuce, plus a variety of grilled meat, chicken, or seafood toppings. A bowl of light sauce comes along for added zing. Looks good and tastes great, but rice plates rule here, as well. Com Ga Nuong is well seasoned chicken grilled and served along with rice, a bed of cucumbers, tomato, lettuce, and a bowl of soup. Other rice plates include beef, pork, and shrimp, and I doubt you could go wrong with any of these choices, or anything else on the menu. I am looking forward to my next visit to Super Pho to prove myself right.