Pho Bolsa - Second to None Pho Ga (Chicken Pho)

Updated 08-18-14. Pho Bolsa no longer exists at this location. Pho Cali opens here since early 2014.

Pho Bolsa on Brookhurst in Little saigonDecided to pay a visit to Pho Bolsa this past weekend. My wife was craving for their pho ga (chicken pho) so we went there after running a few errands.

There are many different Pho Bolsas. This Pho Bolsa is on Brookhurst, just north of the corner of Brookhurst and Westminster in Little Saigon. The place has been at the same spot forever and has one of the best pho ga anywhere. It used be a very popular pho shop with many clients crowding the place at any hour of the day. But since the mushrooming of pho restaurants and 50% off pho ga around the area, it looks like Pho Bolsa is losing some customers.

Pho Bolsa signI have other theories as well. For me Pho Bolsa has very good pho ga, probably second to none, and decent pho tai, chin, sach (beef: rare, well-done brisket, tripe) which I always have. However the place is never kept as clean as it could be. Now I'm not one who readily complains about cleanliness or expresses concerns about sanitary conditions of a pho restaurant, but I do want to take an issue here. The floor has always felt greasy. At least at one time I've seen the owner playing with her dog pet on her arms while working behind the counter. Granted she did not directly serve pho to the customers' tables, but working behind the counters definitely included taking money and giving changes and preparing beverages among other things. Not something I am ever comfortable with. I've come here on and off in the last 10+ years so I'll be back again, but maybe not as often as I'd like.

But on to the pho. My wife ordered her favorite pho ga with white meat, heart, gizzard, and liver. There were unlaid eggs as well. I had my trusty pho tai, chin, sach (beef: rare, well-done brisket, tripe). Both were good as expected, but the garnishes were on the wilted side. The free-range chicken were delicious, just right with the right level of tenderness and chewiness. Dip it in the ginger fish sauce and you're in pho ga heaven. For me the beef tai, chin sach were nothing to complain about, except that I would have liked a little more tripe.

Pho Bolsa's pho ga (chicken pho)

Pho ga with white chicken side and ginger fish sauce.

Pho Hoa's pho bo (beef pho)

My trusty pho tai chin sach (rare, well-done brisket, tripe).

Pho Bolsa's chicken pho unlaid eggs

Unlaid chicken eggs.

Pho Bolsa's white chicken side dish

Free-range white chicken.

May 3, 2009

Pho bo (beef: rare, well-done brisket, tripe). Pho ga with white meat on side.

  • Pho noodle: (5/5)
  • Soup stock: (4/5)
  • Meats: (4/5)
  • Garnishes*: freshness (3/5)
  • Garnishes: extra point for fresh ngo gai (1/5)
  • Price: Baseline ($5-6), no extra points or deductions.
  • Extra points: -2 for less than acceptable cleanliness.
  • Total points: 15 out of possible 35.

* No points for expected garnishes of sprouts, Thai basil, lime and chiles.

Pho Bolsa
13912 Brookhurst St.
Garden Grove, CA, 92843
(714) 530-1143

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2 comments

  1. Steven 6 June, 2015 at 02:04 Reply

    Those young chicken eggs are still around? I used to order a side bowl of just these eggs to go with my beef pho when I was little. As time passes, when I request for a side of these eggs, they said its not available to order as a side order. You’d have to order a chicken pho with all its internals etc. to get these eggs. Since I love these eggs so much I’d sacrifice my favorite beef flavor pho just for these eggs. And for the past years I stopped ordering chicken pho with its internals and these eggs because the server would say, “we’re out of young eggs.” This happens to every place I go to which serve chicken pho. I didn’t know this place (Pho Bolsa) still serve it. But now that I do, I’m not sure if I want to go here. I’ve only been here only once in my life and I’m not impressed with its cleanliness and I’m not a picky person as long as the food is good. I usually go to Dakao for the chicken pho but that’s usually when I get dragged along because a member wants it.

  2. Cuong 6 June, 2015 at 08:10 Reply

    @Steven: As I noted at the top of this article Pho Bolsa no longer exists. And gone with it are the eggs. I can definitely appreciate your love for these culinary deliciousness, but they can be expensive to source these days. Suppliers just do not provide these as regular items, as there are not very high demand for them. This is the reality of it, I’m afraid.

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