a pho-nomenal competition

I have a confession. I currently have 70 {yes, 70!} half-written blog post sitting in my draft folder. Yikes. One that I’ve been meaning to write since last July was where to find the best hole-in-the-wall ethnic food in Raleigh.

My buddy and I made plans to get take-out Pho {Vietnamese soup} the other night. As we were driving up Capital Blvd and deciding which Pho restaurant to go to, we decided to get a dish from each place and pit them against each other in a super-intense food competition. Yes, this is what I do with my time. Haha! I knew it was a blog post in the making.

The competitors {drum roll, please}:

Pho Cali: 3310 Capital Blvd 
Pho Far East: 4011 Capital Blvd

We carefully devised a system to rank the restaurants.

  • Atmosphere: Pho Cali was perfectly nice but very simple; Pho Far East felt much more cozy because of the decor and lights.
    • Winner: Pho Far East 
  • Popularity {extra points were awarded if the customers were Vietnamese because we all know that matters}: Pho Cali gained two customers while we were there, but Pho Far East had about eight people eating dinner there. It was a tie for percentage of Vietnamese diners. 
    • Winner: Pho Far East
  • Price: $8.99 for a big portion of pho at both places.
    • Tie
  • Quantity: The presentation made it slightly hard to judge, but I think the servings were comparable.
    • Tie
  • Hours: Pho Cali is open for an extra hour at the morning, but I am realistically going to drive up Capital for pho at 9am? Gonna call it a:
    •  Tie
  • Presentation: The overall presentation of Pho Far East’s was more elegant and appetizing.
    • Winner: Pho Far East
  • Service: The service at both places was fantastic. Everyone was friendly and welcoming and even let us practice our Vietnamese pronunciation. But the winner by a slight margin was Pho Cali.
    • Winner: Pho Cali
  • Location: Pho Cali is closer to downtown; Pho Far East is further up Capital {which is one of the worst streets in Raleigh}.
    • Winner: Pho Cali
  • Quality: Arguably the most important of the categories! Alone, each bowl of pho was delicious. But side-by-side, Pho Far East was the clear winner. The broth was much more flavorful, the meat looked more fresh, and they included sriracha, which is critical to the enjoyment of a bowl of Pho.
    • Winner: Pho Far East 
Pho Far East was a pretty clear winner in the pho-off {reviews on Yelp say the same thing}. I look forward to patronizing the restaurant again in the near future 🙂 

P.S. Cheesy joke time: what country has the best food? Viet-nom nom nom 🙂
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