Open kitchen pho restaurants  


quanghien023
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Hey everyone: I don't think this exists but will ask anyway. I'm trying to find out if there are good open kitchen restaurants in the US but can't seem to be satisfied with whatever I've found so far. There are a few places in San Jose, in Little Saigon Santa Ana, and maybe in a few in other states, but these don't compare to those great street food shops in Viet Nam, which are real open kitchen restaurants run by people who actually care. Places that are busy all the time, serve simple food, serve them quickly, and at reasonable prices. Customers can come in, have a quick bite, pay and leave. No fuss, no wifi, no waiting 10 minutes for your food, no complex menu, no fake friendly servers, and no tips expected.

No I'm not looking for actual pho shop out in the streets in the US (we know that won't happen) and I do understand health requirements in every restaurant, but surely there has to be good pho shops that serve in open views of customers, quickly, affordably, with simple menu, by people who know their business, with not a single artificial/bogus friendliness???

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XichLoBud
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I do miss those the street food shops right next to heavy traffic going by, though not likely (or ever) to be allowed in the US. Some owners running these businesses are real professionals at what they do.

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Cuong
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Agree with @XichLoBud that street foods in Saigon and other places in VN will never happen in the US, except at occasions such as at festivals and fairs where regulations are a little more relaxed. With that said, there are still a lot of elements that can be effectively brought to US pho shops to help enhance the pho experience here. Too bad I haven't quite seen a successful implementation yet.

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quanghien023
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My point was, even in a restaurant in the US, why don't we have good noodle service, fresh and delicious, in front of customers (at least the final plating), at a great price that a shop is always busy with tons of people wanting to eat their food. With larger population is North America and people with higher discretionary money to spend, it seems we should have this by now already.

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Cuong
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Your point understood. From my experience, doing what you describe requires a lot of attention to food safety and local regulations that owners would rather not want to del with. People tend to gravitate toward easy, and the easiest thing to do is imitate what others are already doing which is "traditional" Western-standard restaurant configuration. Also many owners take over existing space, so that limits what they can do. I agree with you and would love to see someone do it in the US. But that would require a strong operator who knows exactly what he/she is doing and execute such plan properly.

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Khangster09
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I agree with Cuong's points. In the US and I would guess Canada and even Australia, I can begin to see 3 types of pho/Viet restaurants. 1) The leftovers from last century, 2) the new trendy type that go a bit too far in the other extreme and becoming too westernized and losing the Vietnamese-ness, and 3) Those who have the right ideas to take Viet food in the right directions, but unfortunately the execution is so dismal that they eventually become a more modern version of 1).

Personally I think what you describe is classic good food and customer service that will never go out of style, when done right regardless of location. For me this is an example of one such service:

 

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XichLoBud
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Love how these people run their hu tieu noodle shop! Thanks for sharing this video.

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phobelly19
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That pot of xi quach simmering on the floor looks amazing!!! 😛 I salivate just looking at the lady transferring scoops of xi quach to the serving area (around 5:50).

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Cuong
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Nice video showing open street kitchen in action. I'd love to point out some very important techniques that seem to come as second nature for these street vendors but are just meaningless to a casual observer. But for now, I'd like to point out just one single very important thing: those plastic (usually colorful) ladles/large scoops with handle are very common implements in VN. They're used for almost every imaginable things by everybody. The thing is, by food safety standard, the plastic used to make them are not food-safe plastic. It's the same cheap plastic found in other cheap stuff like the colorful street-side low stools, toys and other things. Over time and especially in high heat environment, the plastic will break down and release toxic chemicals into the food if used this way. I'd love to give these vendors a good set of stainless ladles which will last much longer for them and are totally safe to serve. So eater beware.

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MrChopstickWA
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@khangster09

I like how they keep themselves busy when not serving a customer. There's always something to do and they look like they really care and are serious about running the business. 👍 

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