Pho Huong Lan

Sunday, February 12, 2006 6 No tags Permalink 0


Our family used to go to To Chau for pho, but the lines were never worth the wait considering how many other good pho places we have in Honolulu. Pho Huong Lan in the Cultural Plaza, just a five minute walk from To Chau offers just as wonderful – if not better pho.

The longest we ever had to wait here was ten minutes and that was only on two occasions. It’s one of the “cleaner” chinatown places and service is efficent with a smile. Even when it’s completely full, the ambiance is always calm and relaxed. Run by a local family for many years, it’s comforting to see some consistency/history is a world that, on occasion, seems to change too fast for me.

There’s a menu, but everyone in our family sticks to the pho. Today I had the pho with slices of raw beef, beef balls and tendon (mmm, I love tendon!) They give a fair amount of veggies – ngo gai, bean sprouts, basil, peppers, lime and basil. The vibrantly colored vegetables are very fresh and inviting – they seem to beg, “eat me in all my fresh glory!”

I’m a firm believer that Huong Lan offers the clearest pho broth in town. Light and clean tasting, you can finish the whole bowl without that dehydrated, msg overload feeling. The soup is slightly beefy in flavor with a distinctive hint of anise. Just wonderful :) The tendon with addicting, perfectly balanced between crunchy and chewy, a pull that surrenders to a determined bite. I asked for the beef to be served raw on the side which allows one to see the quality of the meat. The generous serving of soft noodles are are waddled together at the bottom of the bowl, just waiting for you to unravel them into a spoonful completed by the savory, comforting broth.

Pho Huong Lan
Asia Mall – Chinatown Cultural Plaza
100 N. Beretania #129B
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
(808) 538-6707

6 Comments
  • Reid
    February 12, 2006

    Hi Kathy,I’ve passed by this place many times, but never stopped in to grab a bowl of pho. I’m thinking that I should try it sometime. I completely agree with you about To Chau and I can’t understand the reason for the lines either. Have you been to Pho 97 on Maunakea? That’s probably my favorite Vietnamese restaurant next to Bac Nam.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    February 12, 2006

    Ahh! Pho 97 – I love that place, they do a pretty good job with the bun bo hue. To Chau is good but not amazing, as the lines would indicate. Definitely stop by Huong Lan when you have the chance, I’m always amazed by how clear and flavorful their broth is.

  • anonymous
    February 13, 2006

    Aw man, that makes me want pho. Our campus center makes it but it’s like, crappy. Haha, and even the Boston chinatown seems a bit sketchy to get good pho. We should go food hunting when I’m in CA spring break!

  • anonymous
    February 13, 2006

    Hi Kathy – I love tendon as well! Funny thing, when I left the Islands there didn’t seem to be very many Pho’ places….that seems to have changed. And you say Bun Bo Hue! Hmmm, more to add to my list.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    February 14, 2006

    Hey Kelly!You’re campus center makes pho? That’s pretty cool – I’m going to Yale the next time we have a long break, maybe I’ll spend a day at Wellesley! It’s can’t wait to see you spring break, we going to do some mad breakfasting.Hi Kirk!Tendon is my favorite pho “meat.” If it only tasted as good with rice, I’d have it for every meal. When’s the last time you went back home? Honolulu is flooded with pho. (okay, that may have been an exaggeration, but a good excuse for a trip back!)

  • milgwimper
    February 21, 2006

    Kathy, The pho looks really good, but I am more intrigued by the saw like herb on that plate. Here I have not found any pho places that serves that type of herb. Please don’t say it taste like cilantro…*faint*

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