It’s pho-licious


For reasons still unknown to me, I ate five bowls of pho in the last 10 days. I guess you can say I had a craving.

I visited Pho Ha (both the Pomona location on Indian Hill and Holt and the Rancho location on Foothill and Hellman), #1 Pho Noodle and Grill on Foothill and Rochester in Rancho, Pho Vi on Thomas and 3rd in Pomona and Saigon Chinese and Vietnamese on Foothill near Etiwanda in Rancho.

the winner for best pho in the last 10 days goes to … Pho Ha. Both
locations are good but the Rancho site wins by a hair for wonderful
people-watching opportunities and proximity to a frozen yogurt joint.

I asked the Pho Ha owner what the difference is between the two restaurants. She said customers in Rancho eat more.

Ha, at the Chuck E. Cheese center, is always brimming with people.
During the lunch hour, the people slurping up the Vietnamese noodles
are a diverse group of working class families, hospital workers, suit
types, etc. When I ate a 9 p.m. dinner last week, there were men behind
me who spoke a combination of Vietnamese and English, the two ladies
next to me gossiped in Spanish and the family in front of me spoke
Mandarin. This isn’t your grandmother’s Cucamonga, that’s for sure.

I eat pho, I’m usually a rare steak kinda gal. If I’m eating with
someone who’s not squeamish, I’ll get brisket and tripe. Recently, I’ve
been getting the vegetarian pho, which at Pho Ha, is a big salad in
soup. In addition to the rice noodles, there’s tofu, napa cabbage,
onion, carrot, baby corn, green onion, cilantro and shitake mushrooms.
If you include all the fixings, there’s also basil, bean sprouts,
jalapenos and if you’re lucky, green leaf lettuce.

In the West Valley, all the pho places I’ve tried are good but Pho Ha and Pho Vi are
the only two I recommend with no reservations. Remember, pronounce it
“fuh” not “foe.”

Other restaurants I’ve tried before but not in the last 10 days: Pho Century in Upland; Pho Express and Pho Hoa Pasteur in Pomona; Pho 2007 in Chino Hills.

Restaurants I’ve never tried before: Pho Saigon on Base Line and Carnelian in Rancho; California Noodle and Grill in Chino; Pho Nguyen in Fontana and Pho Vietrica in Ontario.

Am I forgetting any?

Photo courtesy of Marc Campos   
  • Larry Egan

    Fee Fi Fo Fum, or is it Phe Phi Pho Phum? I could never get that right. Wendy, does David Allen know you are critiquing some of the very eateries he frequents? No matter, I’ve eaten at both the Pho Vi and Pho Ha, both are Pomona locations and both are very good. Of the two I prefer the downtown Pomona Pho Vi.I haven’t tried the Pho Ha in Rancho, but for a hairs difference I may give it a try. Pho give the puns?

  • rpfromrc

    Rancho? Rancho what? Rancho Santa Margarita, like Yahoo thinks is local to me? Rancho California? Rancho Bernardo? Rancho Sante Fe? Rancho San Jose (isn’t that now Pomona)? Rancho Cordova, home of the state income tax board? 200 years ago, it was all Rancho around here, one Rancho or another.

    If you mean Rancho Cucamonga, the short abbreviation is RC, somewhat longer is Cucamonga. The latter has the great advantage of being unique. I realize it shortchanges Etiwanda and Alta Loma a bit, although latter name is a totally lame developer’s handle anyway (could be in Texas, and is).

    Wendy, you do a nice job with the RCNow column, but it is time to learn the name of your town.

  • Wendy Leung

    No, Larry. I don’t think David Allen knows. Don’t you go and tell him, either.

  • Wendy Leung

    I understand that abbreviations of this great city can make people absolutely livid. One reader once wrote an angry letter to the paper for using “RC” in the headline. But “Rancho” is what Inland Valley residents call this area. Why would anyone think I was blogging about Rancho Cordova?

  • rpfromrc

    Wendy, I am not livid, and I realize Rancho is used by many to refer to RC. But, I was first introduced to the Rancho abbreviation when my employer expanded into Rancho Cucamonga, and people referred to it as Rancho. The problem? We had 4 facilities, and another was in Rancho Bernardo. I have not been a fan of that lazy abbreviation since.

    Why propagate the use of the bland and ambiguous Rancho, when Cucamonga has far more character and is specific? I realize there is a discrepancy between the city as a whole and the subset that is properly Cucamonga, but that can be handled by using Rancho more as an adjective than a noun, or using the briefer RC.