After over 20 years in business, Yen Lam of Pho 88 has retired. While the Pho 88 sign still hangs and the painted logo still adorns the windows, Lam has passed the torch to another Vietnamese family to open their own restaurant: Pho Can Tho (pronunciation here).
While the restaurant is also Vietnamese and the restaurant is still bright and clean, don't expect the menu or recipes to be the same. The menu was condensed to less than two pages with a selection of drinks, appetizers, pho (rice noodle soup), com tam ("broken rice" plates), com chien (fried rice), bun (rice vermicelli bowls), banh mi (baguette sandwiches) and specialties.
Bun Bo Hue is for the adventurous eater. Like pho, it comes with a side of lime, bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeño, and Thai basil. While it looks simply like a chili oil-laced pho at first glance, three distinct ingredients separate it drastically: deeply savory and funky fermented shrimp, a cube of soft tofu-like coagulated pork blood, and a tender but slightly chewy tendon-filled pork hock. Other local restaurants tend to exclude from the cube of blood and pork hock, but don't miss out here — it's a completely different experience. The spice level lingers pleasantly throughout the whole meal. Make sure you have plenty of napkins for this vibrant red soup and be careful slurping as to not splash too much.
Pho Can Tho is located at 2746 N. Campbell Ave. Operating hours are 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday - Sunday. For more information, call (520) 881-8883 or keep up with Pho Can Tho on Facebook.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran's Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...