These guys are serious about their chicken. First, take a look around their restaurant.
While waiting for a table for late weekend lunch, I asked a regular for ordering advice. Specifically, I asked what else I should order besides the chicken pho, and whether I should order the duck congee. She said no, skip the duck, and get the hainan chicken rice with sticky rice instead. That’s persuasive enough, so I stuck to her advice, mostly.
The pho. That broth was very good with good chicken flavors infused with herbs and anise. Noodles were cooked al dente. Yellow feather chicken quality was good and flavorful with nice thick bouncy skin, and plenty of giblets hiding underneath the noodle and chicken meat. I and my older daughter enjoyed the noodle and the broth so much that she requested to go back very soon. I don’t eat pho ga often. Years ago when I ate pho ga at Pho Kim Long often near the Great Mall, I thought their pho, despite the acclaim, was merely ok with MSG-laden broth. I thought Pho Ga Nha is substantially better. Between me and my daughter, we finished off all the broth.
The Hainan chicken rice. Two choices of rice- the chicken flavor infused broken jasmine, or the sticky rice. The server seemed to suggest that the sticky rice was not flavored with chicken so I picked the jasmine instead. The rice was indeed very chicken-y, curiously with some kimchi on the side. The chicken was the same good chicken as in the pho.
Simple basil and bean sprout plate for the pho:
Even the menu had a chicken running around the pasture:
Recommended. They were crowded at 1:30pm for a reason. We waited about 20 minutes for our table.
This is one of my go-to restaurants when traveling to and from SF and the Central Coast.
We had one of their grilled chicken rice dishes before which was great too. The chicken salad looking stuff is pretty popular but I haven’t tried it myself.
Mostly I stick to the pho ga or one of its variants. That broth is pretty amazing though.
I have to try those grilled chicken and chicken salad dishes then next time I grab the pho.
May we ask where your other go-to restaurants are? If they are all good like Pho Ga Nha that’s good news
I really haven’t been to too many down there since i live in SF.
I really like Bun Mam so my other main go to is Bún Mắm Hà Tiên (3005 Silver Creek Rd #192). I also do like Pho Kim Long. The only restaurant i’ve been to that serves fresh pennywort juice which is a absolute favorite of mine. There is an oddly sparse fruit store in the same center as Bun Mam Ha Tien that makes Pennywort juice to order as well.
There are more than 100 Vietnamese restaurants in the San Jose area, so there must be some other diamonds we are missing. Probably some restaurants have 1 or 2 amazing dishes but get bad yelp reviews for service and decor and the other dishes not being up to snuff. But we’ll never go because of the bad reviews. We could be missing out on the best bun bo hue ever because they have crappy pho.
Ah missed this post. I almost never show up in E San Jose either. its almost the same amount of time to go there vs SF and SF always wins out because of other things to do. But yes there is such a wealth of Vietnamese there. I will have to bookmark Ha Tien to make sure I don’t miss that one if I am in that area.
Speaking of bun bo hue, what’s your pick? Any other besides An Nam?
Sorry I don’t really have any good leads on Bun Bo Hue. I like it at Pho Kim Long, but it’s not something I order too often as I’m not a huge spicy fan.