All You Can Eat Pho

Updated 06-23-13. All-you-can-eat Pho? Well not quite, not here in the states anyway. I have not found a place for all-you-can-eat pho that will stay in business for more than a few weeks. There have been several attempts in Little Saigon area (Orange County, CA), but those places definitely didn't do it right. These restaurants tried a few things, but in the end they suffered from low quality, less-than-appealing presentation and clientele, and bad food selection. Wow, talk about how not to operate a restaurant.

I continue to wish for an all-you-can-eat pho place.

I did have a great experience with all-you-can-eat pho in Vietnam, at Nha Hang Tan Son Nhat (Tan Son Nhat Restaurant), near the airport Tan Son Nhat in Saigon. The restaurant had a huge offerings of authentic regional Vietnamese delicacies, arranged into different food types at their own serving stations. Below is a shot showing the pho station.

Restaurant Tan Son Nhat All-You-Can-Eat Pho Station

Restaurant Tan Son Nhat All-You-Can-Eat Pho Station.

Wow that was pho heaven! Just come up to the pho station, let the server know what you'd like (I think rare beef, well-done brisket and beef balls were available), and he prepares a steaming hot bowl of pho for you right on the spot. Then you take what you need from the abundant tray of basil, culantro ngo gai, sprouts, etc. Yum! There were so many other great authentic Vietnamese dishes as well, and I did have some of those as well. But thank you very much, I'll have another bowl of pho please.

Gotta have my ratings right? So here goes.

Jan 8, 2008

Pho tai, chin (beef: rare, well-done brisket).

  • Pho noodle: (4/5)
  • Soup stock: (4/5)
  • Meats: (4/5)
  • Garnishes*: freshness (5/5)
  • Garnishes: extra points for fresh ngo gai (5/5) - ngo gai galore!
  • Price: (5/5) all-you-can-eat, plus tons of other food dishes and free meal coupon!
  • Extra points: (5/5) for clean dining area, airy and light ambience, good reliable service, totally authentic Vietnamese ambience.
  • Total points: 32

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

So restaurateurs: want to open a great all-you-can-eat pho or, for that matter, Vietnamese restaurant that will last more than a few weeks or months? I'd fully support it. But you've got to learn from the Americans and Chinese on how to do all-you-can-eat the right way. Or visit Tan Son Nhat Restaurant in Saigon. For now, all-you-can-eat Pho in the states? I can continue to dream.

How about you, would you support all-you-can-eat pho? Do you have enough stomach (literally) for all-you-can-eat pho? Share your views with us and leave a comment below.

Sign in front of Restaurant Tan Son Nhat, Saigon

Sign in front of Restaurant Tan Son Nhat, Saigon. The 55,000 dong for adults works out to be roughly USD3.70 (early 2008 exchange rates). For kids, 44,000 dong or USD2.70. And we had a coupon for free meals, so this was the best pho deal ever.



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