Pho Tam

  It was raining so hard yesterday...you know what that means right?!! To me "rain" translates into 3 things: PHO, RAMEN & HOTPOTS!!! Since I wasn't near any ramen or hotpot places, my only options were pho haha. With the abundance of pho restaurants in Van, I could've gone to any ol neighbourhood pho place, but since I had some extra time yesterday, I decided to hop on the skytrain to Surrey Central to visit the legendary PHO TAM in Walley! Word around town is that Pho Tam has the BEST pho in the GVR!! Not going to lie, I was pretty stoked. My expectations were high. Good thing I was starvingg because the portion sizes here are huge! If you're wondering, I did manage to finish all my food (without difficulty) LOL!

  Oh, and this place is conveniently located right across from the Surrey Central Station in a little plaza beside New Town Bakery!

SIGNATURE DISHES
    Pho Tam is known for their pho...more specifically for their broth!! The broth is the most important aspect of pho (other than the noodles) after all! Pho Tam's broth isn't your typical msg livened up broth, it's beefy, meaty, and oh so fragrant. I also saw a ton of people ordering their bun bo hue and their lemongrass chicken!

SERVICE 3/5 stars
   Service is really quick here. Quicker than a food court. Everything is premade, so they just scoop out your order so you literally get your food in under 2 mins flat. The spring rolls usually come first, followed by your sprouts, and then your pho. The girl who took my order was polite, but she didn't smile or thank me when I paid. They don't bring you your bill so you have to go up to the counter to pay (which is literally a box shaped hole in the wall LOL!) Get it? ;)

AMBIANCE - Casual
  This place is definitely hole in the wall worthy. It's dingy, grimy, and pretty ghetto looking LOL, borderline sketchy. The restaurant is actually quite large, with communal seating for about 50 or so people. The place gets quite packed during lunch, so if you arrive around 12 chances are you're going to have to share a table or wait in line. The clientele here are mainly neighbourhood folks, SFU students, business people, the retired crowd, people from all walks of life.

PRICE - $/$$/$$$
   Pho Tam is priced in line with most of the Pho restaurants in Vancouver, with a small Pho being $8, and a large only 50 cents more! A large combo + spring roll can be had for as little as $9.50! Other rice dishes like lemongrass chicken or shredded pork are priced reasonably from $8.50 - $10.

VALUE - Poor/Okay/Good/Great
   In comparison to other pho joins in Van, Pho Tam is great value! The portion sizes are about 15% larger than other places, and you get alot more meat! Get the large, you get so much more food LOL! If you can't finish it just take it home haha, it'll probably last you two meals! 

Spring Roll
4/5 stars
  I didn't really have high expectations for the spring rolls, I've never really been particularly impressed by any of the spring rolls I've tried at pho restaurants. But this was an exception! If I wasn't so full already I probably would have ordered more haha!
  First off, this thing was huge. Larger than your typical spring roll. It was packed to the brim with meat! The shell was crispy and exhibited a nice crunch when I bit into it. The meat filling was moist, and jammed packed with flavour. I didn't even add any fish sauce lol! It was already really well seasoned on its own!
Pho Dac Biet + Spring Roll $9.50 Combo
4/5 stars
  At pho places I've never been to I usually get their pho dac biet! It's usually a reliable testament to how good their pho is. The broth was great! Not "excellent" but certainly better than most places in Van! It was robust, beefy, with lots of depth, without being overly salty. MSG usage was definitely at a minimum. There was so much noodles in this haha! The noodles were great as well, al dente, with bite, and connected to the broth. 
  It was also packed with a ton of meat: rare beef, beef balls, tripe, beef brisket, and beef tendon! There was so much beef brisket in this LOL! The beef brisket was semi tender and fully cooked. The rare beef had a healthy pinkish colour and the broth was hot enough to cook it. The beef balls were okay, rubbery, and a bit lacking in flavour.
  Was it the best pho in Vancouver? Erm, hard to say, given that I haven't tried every pho place there is LOL! But compared to the places I have been to, Pho Tam is definitely up there!
They don't blanch your bean sprouts here, so you have to cook it in your pho!

Every person also gets their own mini teapot LOL which I thought was adorablee! Where can I get one? ;D

Pho Tam on Urbanspoon

4 comments:

  1. I used to have meetings out at the Gateway Station, so if when possible I'd go there for lunch with some of my colleagues. This is one of those "very pleasant" surprise of a restaurant, especially for a Vietnamese restaurant in that part of Surrey (or all of Surrey for that matter). It wasn't easy getting lunch, 'tho, as Pho Tam is very popular and lunchtime rush lineups are common. But turnover was relatively fast as most people are on their lunch hour and the staff is efficient in cleaning up and readying tables for the next customers.

    As for good cha gio (spring rolls), if memory serves correctly Pho Cilantro on Fraser St/26 Ave has pretty good ones the last time I was there maybe 3 years ago. But most Viet restos use rice paper for the wrapper. I prefer the more Chinese style with the flour wrapper (a la dim sum style). Years and years ago, Bao Chau on E. Hastings (near Renfrew) was among the better/best ones for very good cha gio (rice wrapper) but I haven't been there in ages, so you'll have to read up on some recent food blog reviews of them to get a good recent impression.

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  2. For great Vietnamese spring rolls with lots of meat (and flour wrapper), try the Vietnamese stall (beside the bbq stall) in Hen Long Market on 104th Ave. Only $1.25 and a much better deal than Pho Hoa next door.

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  3. @LotusRapper haha yes it was packed when I went!! I think I probably took the longest to eat LOL, I was in there for 40 + mins! Do you still go to Pho Tam often or have you found a replacement? :)
    Ohh I'm near Fraser St alot, maybe I'll go try out pho cilantro or bao chau! I have yet to find amazing vietnamese spring rolls LOL, the search continues! :)

    @Anonymous
    I've never been to Hen Long before LOL! It's in Surrey right? Is it in a food court? Sounds awesome, I love cheap eats!! I'll have to get my dad to bring me though because I don't drive LOL! :)

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  4. That was a few years ago and I'm not with that company anymore, and I don't have reasons to go to Surrey, so no, it's been awhile since I've been to Pho Tam. No loss to me, as there more than enough good->excellent pho in Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond.

    Bao Chau is on Hastings, near the PNE, btw.

    Had a bowl of pho dac biet at Green Lemongrass (Kingsway) yesterday. It was during non-lunch/dinner rush so I got seated asap. I forgot what a "classy" and comfy place that is. The pho was on the light side but has depth and sophistication, definitely satisfying. Even the hoisin sauce tasted better for some reason.

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