Sunday, June 3, 2007
LA's Best Egg Roll - Pho So 1
Pho So 1 is a small Vietnamese restaurant tucked into a corner strip mall, anchored by a Ranch 99, at the corner of Victory and Sepulveda in Van Nuys. When you pass through the doors, you are immediately hit with the fragrance of Vietnamese cooking: mint, basil, lime, cilantro. Pho So has good pho, but I prefer the bun - vermicelli with vegetables and bean sprouts served with a fish sauce. You can get it topped with wonderfully flavored barbequed pork with just the right balance of sweet, tangy.
The highlight of Pho So, though, is the egg roll. The plump rolls contain a luscious meat mixture (certainly pork, possibly beef, who knows what else) with cellophane noodles and spices packed into a rice paper roll and fried to the perfect consistency, where the outer layer of rice paper browns and blisters.
In my view, any rice paper egg roll beats one made with won ton or other flour based skins. The rice gives it that special chewiness and a lightness that is the perfect complement to the dense filling. And rice paper egg rolls lack the greasy mouthfeel of fried won ton skin. Pho So's are done just right. For my money, the egg rolls here are the best in LA!
You can have the egg rolls with traditional garnish (lettuce, tangy, lightly pickled carrots, daikon, mint and cilantro) or in a bun accompanied by the lovely combination of stringy vermicelli with fresh and pickled vegetables.
Anytime I'm in Van Nuys, which is usually to visit my favorite liquor store, I make a stop at Pho So 1. (Since there doesn't seem to be a Pho So 2 anywhere, I'm guessing that the name, like many pho restaurants, may refer to a restaurant in Vietnam).