Pho Sure! Vietnamese Noodle Soup Is Our Favorite Fast Food.

Ever since Jeff and I first started dating, pho (pronounced “phuh”) — Vietnamese noodle soup — has been one of our favorite go-to-take-out dinners… our version of cheap fast food.  When we’re both too tired to cook after a busy day at work, we almost always opt to pick up pho and bring it home to enjoy in front of the television, and on cold nights, in front of a warm fire. It’s delicious, soothing, super healthy, and super cheap.

We even bought special Asian-style red enamel bowls and plates, a while back, to enjoy our take-out pho in something a bit nicer than styrofoam.

The Skinny on Pho

  • 2 bowls of pho and 2 spring rolls usually costs under $20.
  • 1 large bowl of beef pho is 8 Weight Watchers PointsPlus (according to Weight Watchers own recipe).  Chicken or shrimp pho must surely be less, but I have yet to find a value, so I still count 8 PointsPlus.
  • 1 fresh spring roll with shrimp and lean pork is 4 PointsPlus.
  • 2 Tbsp. of r dipping sauce is 0 PointsPlus, 2 Tbsp of peanut peanut satay sauce is 2 PointsPlus.
Saigon Noodle House

Hubby prefers the rare round steak pho. The beef is raw, but thinly sliced, so it cooks quickly in the hot broth.

Pho consists of a soup base made up of fresh rice noodles and a soothing seasoned hot broth. Some people opt to go vegetarian, but a variety of proteins are frequently added: chicken and beef are the most common, yet most pho houses also serve shrimp, pork, or a mixture of these. Fresh vegetables (usually bean sprouts, limes and peppers), herbs (usually fresh basil), and sauces (one savory and once spicy) are included for you to add according to taste.

Pho houses are pretty much a dime a dozen in Orange County, and we’ve tried many, but our favorite remains our very own local neighborhood spot — Saigon Noodle House in Placentia in Placentia, located at the intersection of Kraemer and Yorba Linda Boulevard). Unlike most of the places we’ve tried, Saigon Noodle House serves very generous portions of meat (and their beef is always a lean non-fatty cut). Hubby pretty much always orders their rare round steak. I’ve been on a shrimp kick lately, but also really like their lean beef brisket and their chicken pho. And their fresh springrolls are generously packed with lean port and shrimp, instead of being deceptively packed mostly with lettuce.

Our favorite neighborhood Pho house, in nearby Yorba Linda -- Saigon Noodle House

Our favorite neighborhood Pho house -- Saigon Noodle House in Placentia.

Saigon Noodle House

We pretty much always add a small order of shrimp and pork spring rolls.

We haven’t been able to master this recipe ourselves yet (and frankly, since our favorite pho house makes it so darn good, so cheap, and so conveniently just right around the corner… I’m not sure we’ll ever bother to try).  But, if you want to try fabulous authentic Vietnamese pho, we urge you to try one of these traditional recipes by our good friend Kim Tran Burnell from the Rustic Garden Bistro — chicken pho or beef pho.


  1. says

    Great summary on the benefits of pho. :)

    I haven’t been on WW in so long I can’t remember how much 8 points is. I think I was only allowed 22 in a day? No wonder I was never good at staying on track…

    And thanks for the shout-out!

    Pho is kind of a half-day process. Instead of making your own bowl, just come over and I’ll make some for you.


  2. Anonymous says

    I love the Saigon Noodle House in Diamond Bar.   Any idea how many points the Bun Ga Nuong (Grilled Marineated Chicken Vermicelli) is?  It is bascially lettuce, carrots, cucumber, green onins, crushed peanuts, grilled chickern and vermicelli.  The dressgin is the same as the kind for egg roll dipping.  Thanks.

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