13 Joints for a Bowl of Pho in Tucson

Last modified on December 23rd, 2016 at 9:24 am

Bun bo hue style pho in Tucson at Ha Long Bay (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pho is not your “foe.” It’s pronounced “fuh?” and that questioning inflection is necessary if you want to pronounce it accurately.

It’s your best friend after a heavy night of drinking. It’s like a Vietnamese menudo in soul. The gelatin-rich beef stock comforts your body, while the rice noodles are soft and easy to slurp.

Slurping isn’t encouraged per se, but the act of slurping uses air to help cool down the noodles and broth as you devour it.

Pho is greater than the sum of its parts. The broth consists of a wide variety of aromatics, such as charred ginger, onion, clove, cinnamon, star anise, and more depending on the region.

Bean sprouts, onion, cilantro, Thai basil, and other garnishes are brought to the table so diners can season their own bowls according to personal preference. If you add hoisin sauce or Sriracha to your bowl, make sure to at least taste the broth on its own first. A final squeeze of lime helps brighten the flavors, keeping the soup from weighing you down.

For the simplest experience, order pho tai, which has thin slices of beef. For the works, order pho dac biet, which usually includes steak, fatty flank, tendon, tripe, and meatballs. Chicken and vegetarian options are also available at some restaurants.

Vietnam is warm and humid all year, but that doesn’t stop its citizens from enjoying this hot soup. Don’t let the heat stop you from ordering pho in Tucson from one of these locations.

American Flying Buffalo

Food Truck
Pho from American Flying Buffalo (Credit: American Flying Buffalo on Facebook)

Pho from American Flying Buffalo (Credit: American Flying Buffalo on Facebook)

This food truck offers American classics like burgers and wings, but ventures into Asian territory with fried rice and pho. The broth an old family recipe made from scratch.

Keep up with American Flying Buffalo on Facebook.

Com Tam Thuan Kieu

1990 W. Orange Grove Rd.
Bánh canh giò heo (flickr.com/jauladeardilla)

Bánh canh giò heo (flickr.com/jauladeardilla)

With many people having trouble pronouncing “pho” already, it’s usually easier to refer to this place as “the Vietnamese restaurant attached to the Lee Lee Oriental Supermarket.” If you’re adventurous, the deep menu also features authentic specialties such as banh canh gio heo, which is a pork knuckle soup with thick noodles made from rice and tapioca.

For more information, visit Com Tam Thuan Kieu on Yelp.

Dao’s Tai Pan’s Restaurant

446 N. Wilmot Rd. / 4206 N. 1st Ave.
Pho at Dao's Tai Pan's Restaurant (Credit: Dao's Tai Pan's Restaurant on Facebook)

Pho at Dao’s Tai Pan’s Restaurant (Credit: Dao’s Tai Pan’s Restaurant on Facebook)

Go for the pho dac biet, which is a large bowl of pho with rare steak (cooked with the broth), well done steak, flank, tendon, and tripe. The east location is conveniently close to St. Joseph’s Hospital, making it a favorite for patients and doctors who want flavor instead of cafeteria food.

For more information, visit daostaipans.com.

Fresh Sushi Pho

5689 N. Swan Rd.
Seafood pho at Fresh Sushi Pho (Credit: Fresh Sushi Pho on Facebook)

Seafood pho at Fresh Sushi Pho (Credit: Fresh Sushi Pho on Facebook)

The lunch combo features a bowl of pho tai, a soda, and your choice of a California Roll or Las Vegas Roll. For another unconventional choice, order the seafood pho featuring shrimp, scallops, mussels, and salmon.

For more information, visit freshsushipho.com.

Great Wall China

2445 S. Craycroft Rd.
Pho bo (flickr/tommy3000ad)

Pho bo (flickr/tommy3000ad)

This restaurant shaped like the Great Wall of China offers a variety of noodle soups from China, Vietnam, and Korea, most for under $10.

For more information, visit greatwallchinatucson.com.

Ha Long Bay

7245 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Bún Bò Hu? style pho at Ha Long Bay (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Hue spicy beef pho at Ha Long Bay (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The northeast proximity makes Ha Long Bay an interesting choice after a weekend hike at Sabino Canyon or Mount Lemmon. The service is also exceptionally friendly, making it a favorite joint in the neighborhood. For a hybrid of two Vietnamese classics, order the hue spicy beef soup, which features pho noodles in a spicy bo hue broth perfumed with lemongrass.

For more information, visit halongbaymenu.com.

King’s Restaurant

10 W. Grant Rd.
Hu tieu dac biet at King's Restaurant (Credit: King's Restaurant on Facebook)

Hu tieu dac biet at King’s Restaurant (Credit: King’s Restaurant on Facebook)

Tucked inside what looks like another Chinese restaurant, King’s actually offers outstanding pho and other Vietnamese noodle soups. The hu tieu dac biet is also worth a trip with clear noodles, shrimp, calamari, and pork.

For more information, visit kingstucson.com.

Miss Saigon

1072 N. Campbell / 4650 W. Ina / 47 N. 6th Ave. / 250 S. Craycroft / 8225 N. Courtney Page Way, Ste. 100
Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pho xe lua dac biet at Miss Saigon (Credit: Jackie Tran)

The most prominent family of Vietnamese restaurants in Tucson, Miss Saigon has no signs of slowing down with its fifth location opening in Marana earlier this year. Their spring rolls and boba are local favorites.

For more information, visit misssaigon-tucson.com.

Pho # 1

2226 N. Stone Ave.
Pho with rare steak, well-done shank, brisket, tendon, tripe, and beef meatballs at Pho #1 (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Pho with rare steak, well-done shank, brisket, tendon, tripe, and beef meatballs at Pho #1 (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Hidden outside of view on Stone, Pho #1 offers a wide range of Vietnamese dishes from $8 to $9. The pho is a step up from the recipe used when the space was Pho Thu, so they’re worth a return visit if you haven’t been there in a few years. For a gem that’s hard to find in Tucson, try the com ga chien, which is Vietnamese marinated fried chicken served with rice.

For more information, visit Pho #1 on Yelp.

Pho 88

2744 N. Campbell Ave.
Pho dac biet at Pho 88 (Credit: Pho 88 on Facebook)

Pho dac biet at Pho 88 (Credit: Pho 88 on Facebook)

The owner is usually there eager to help newbies enjoy pho the proper way, so don’t be shy. You might also catch Chef Maria Mazon here recharging with a bowl of pho.

Keep up with Pho 88 on Facebook.

Saigon Pho

943 E. University Blvd.
Oxtail and rare beef pho at Saigon Pho (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Oxtail and rare beef pho at Saigon Pho (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Located at Main Gate Square, Saigon Pho is the convenient choice for students. The bowl is presented a lid, so you get a lovely waft of pho aromatics once you lift it. The assorted and affordable banh mi are a convenient on-the-go lunch.

For more information, visit saigonphotucsonaz.com.

Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant

4500 N. Oracle Rd. #287
(Credit: Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant on Facebook)

(Credit: Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant on Facebook)

Recently opened from the folks that brought you Cali Grill, Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant now features a Vietnamese-focused menu. While the pho standards are available, they also a wide variety of hu tieu, mi, and banh canh.

For more information, visit pho520.com.

Solid Grindz

2744 N. Campbell Ave.
Pho at Snow Peas Modern Asian Kitchen (Credit: Snow Peas Modern Asian Kitchen)

Pho at Snow Peas Modern Asian Kitchen (Credit: Snow Peas Modern Asian Kitchen)

Though Snow Peas’ Chef Erik is moved to New Zealand, his recipe remains available at Solid Grindz, which officially opens on September 24.

Keep up with Solid Grindz on Facebook.

Where’s your favorite pho? Let us know in the comments.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He enjoys neon-lit dinners and long crab walks on the beach. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com
  • Thomas Fleming

    Comment

  • oscar gomez

    vina vietnamese street food on oracle

  • oscar gomez

    vina vietnamese uses actual cat!!