Memphis Foodie

Your tool for delicious, local cuisine right in the heart of Memphis, TN.

Pho Saigon March 19, 2011

Filed under: East Memphis — Shannon R Little @ 1:00 pm
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During class this week, I suddenly got a jonesing for some tofu, and nobody does tofu better than the Vietnamese. After class ended I headed straight to Pho Saigon, which is right off Poplar close to the Benjamin Hooks Library. I have never been here before, but I have heard great things about the place. Therefore, it’s definitely worth a shot.

I got there around 9pm, and I was the only person in the restaurant. I take that back. It was me, plus the entire family who owns the restaurant: moms, dads, aunts, uncles, and counsins. They were all there, but I was the only customer. Yet, how can I expect other people to be eating Vietnamese at 9pm on a Monday night? The nice man led me a table, away from the rest of the family.

I look at the menu, which looks pretty standard for a Vietnamese place. I first off order some shrimp spring rolls, one of my favorite Vietnamese foodie items. They come to the table with a peanut dipping sauce, and they are huge!

For my entree, I almost opt for the lemongrass tofu, just to see how it compares to Pho Hoa Binh’s.

However, I have been told that the noodle bowls are great, so I opted for the tofu noodle bowl instead.

The noodle bowl comes to the table, and it is just a large of a portion as the spring rolls. Both of these are way too much food for one person.

After trying both of the items, I have to say that I do not see why this place has such great reviews. The spring rolls were very bland. Though they seem huge, each consisted of one piece of shrimp, surrounded by lettuce and a couple bean sprouts. They were very bland. I might as well have just been eating plain lettuce. The rice paper was also so chewy that I was barely able to break off bites. They seemed very undercooked.

The noodle bowl was nothing else to brag about. First, there was no seasoning or sauce on it. It was like eating pasta without sauce or a salad without dressing. It was a mix of tofu, carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, and noodles. With nothing else.

Second, it was cold. Maybe I am wrong here to assume that noodle bowls are supposed to be hot, but either way, I DO KNOW that tofu is never supposed to be served cold. I am the only person in the restaurant, so why is my food coming out stone cold? Basically it was a cold bowl of noodles, with a few extra additions every now and then.

I end up picking the tofu out of the noodle bowl and dipping it in the peanut sauce to eat it. After I ate the tofu, I go up to the counter to pay and get a take out box for the rest of my noodle bowl. I ended up using the leftovers to make my own chicken stir-fry noodle bowl at home a few days later.

Overall, the portions are large, so price is not an issue. However, that does not make the food taste good. I suggest driving the extra three miles and going to Pho Hoa Binh instead.

Pho Saigon does not have a webpage. However, if want to read more reviews before making a decision, they are on Yelp, Urbanspoon, and Frommers.

You can also check out their Google Map page.

Pho Saigon on Urbanspoon


13 Responses to “Pho Saigon”

  1. Jill Says:

    Here’s the secret – The Vietnamese community eats at Pho Vietnam, not Pho Saigon, not Pho Hoa Binh. Nothing against those places, but they have voted with their feet

    1411 Poplar Ave
    Memphis, TN 38104

    (901) 728-4711

  2. Thomas Says:

    I agree with Jill. Pho Vietnam is the place to go. Excellent food. Pho Saigon is the worst in Memphis.

  3. Thanh Nha Nguyen Says:

    I’m from Australia visited memphis for 3 weeks and i have been at pho saigon most of the time , the food was healthy , the customer service was good , happy and cheerful .. sometime food with alot of flavouring may not be healthly , its full of msg , especially asian food .

    • Thanh Nha Nguyen Says:

      i know because i’m in the food restaurant business… alot of asian restaurant use food enhancer ( msg and preservatives) it is true that Pho saigon compare in taste are not as tasty as others , but healthy & honesty i give it a +++ A .
      I will come back next time I’m in Memphis .

      • I am glad you have had great experiences here, and I hope you keep coming back to support them if you like them so much. However, since my experience was different, I won’t be returning. My complaints had nothing to do with the healthiness of the food. My complaints had to do with the lack of flavor and lukewarm food, mainly.

      • Thanh Nha Nguyen Says:

        Yes I agree with you , if I had the experience there like you , yes I won’t be coming back . It’s just an opinion. 😉 cheers

  4. Mempho Gastro Says:

    I completely agree with your review. I’ve been here a few times and the thing that really turned me off was the service. My wife and I went with some friends and their little girl was playing with the chop sticks. One of the waiters came over and snatched them out of her hands and took the chop sticks away completely! Every time I would ask for a refill he was mumble under his breath and sigh. Anyway, I love your blog.


  5. Johnny Says:

    I believe they close at 9, which would explain the lack of people. Their kitchen was probably closed and they still let you in because you made the trip. I also believe that the noodle bowl is suppose to be served cold.

  6. foodie foibles Says:

    Plenty of asian dishes are served cold – I’m surprised a self described ‘foodie’ isn’t aware of this. Also, you took a picture of the sauces – wondering why you didn’t bother to put any on your food – it’s typical for the diner to use the sauces to make the dish to their preferred level of spicy/sauciness.

    • Thanks for the feedback! I always enjoy hearing from my readership and their experiences at different places. That’s one great thing about talking food is that everyone has different opinions, tastes, and experiences to bring to the table (pun not intended). One thing I love about having this blog is exploring different dishes and restaurants I have never tried, and thus learning about different recipes, styles, techniques, cultures, etc. It has allowed me to explore and learn things I never would have otherwise.

      I am aware that many Asian dishes are served cold. The reason I thought this one should have been warm is because the same dish at other restaurants has always been warm. It could have been a personal, restaurant choice though. I did use the sauces, but did not add that in the review, which might explain a lot more. I like experimenting with different flavors in a meal, so I believe I tried more than one on different bites.

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