The American Pho Scene
As Vietnamese families made their homes across the great land of the U.S.A. since late 1975, they built their own little communities that, over time, contributed significantly to the American society in business, education, cultural diversity, and culinary offering. Vietnamese Pho Scene has become one such gift.
Aside from pho-based restaurants and shops, and franchises, there are countless other Vietnamese restaurants and Asian restaurants that also offer the noodle dish although it is not their main dish. The specialty restaurants, by contrast, exist to serve Pho Scene.
Although the regular Vietnamese restaurants may have helped in boosting the food’s popularity, it is the specialty restaurants that show just how alive the Vietnamese soup noodle industry in the United States is. Even with a heavily emphasized focus on just the dish and not many other offers on the menu, these shops have no problem surviving with many of them filled with customers everyday of the week. The restaurants are actually thriving, even the small independent businesses, providing another proof that people like this food very much.
Diners flock to these restaurants, not just for breakfast, but also for lunch and dinner. Vietnamese food experts such as Mai Pham has also predicted the continuous rise of the dish to popularity that mirrors the rise to fame experienced by other Asian specialties such as the popular Thai dish Pad Thai.
California is home to countless Pho Scene restaurants scattered across its many ethnically diverse and populous cities. In the San Francisco Bay Area, which is also the home of food expert Andrea Nguyen, this dish’s popularity is described as a craze, especially in the healthful eating arena thanks to its fresh ingredients, very little frying, and healthy garnishes.
Down at the southern end of California in San Diego, active Vietnamese communities exist in several areas, with large concentrations of restaurants in East San Diego, the Kearny Mesa area, and the Mira Mesa suburb.
In between San Francisco and San Diego are the Los Angeles and Orange County cities, and Little Saigon, the largest concentration of Vietnamese in the United States. And you know it’s true: where there is a Viet person, so is Vietnamese soup noodle. There are so many competing shops and restaurants here that one can regularly find half-off prices and free drink offers. The competition is fierce, there are plenty of customers, and almost all of Little Saigon’s offerings are quite good. For pho lovers, this is true pho heaven.
The dish also made its way to Las Vegas, Nevada. One could not ever imagine a Vietnamese soup noodle restaurant inside the famous Treasure Island Las Vegas hotel and casino but it is now a reality.
These locations are not even a pinch of all the noodle restaurants you can find in America. Pho is making a name for itself across the United States – in the eastern states, the northeast states, Michigan and Illinois, and in southern states like Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. With an endless potential, the dish certainly has a long way to go before becoming mainstream.
For now it will remain a very well known exotic comfort food. Experts and restaurateurs recognize this potential and seem quite determined to see how much space America can spare for a healthful and great-tasting noodle dish from the Orient. For a country as large as the United States, there should be plenty of room for more Vietnamese Pho Scene.