I Luv Pho- Located on Campbell
Pronounced “FA,” Pho is a Vietnamese soup, and which version is the best and why is as hotly debated among the Vietnamese as my family’s conversation is about BBQ. If you are so inclined; do a little online research and you’ll find that Pho is intended to be augmented with things like thin slices of beef, tendons of beef (they disguise as meatballs on the menu), chicken, tofu and other peasant like fair. Please don’t let the talk of tendons run you off this discussion. Pho is not just a bowl of soup that some chef puts together and sends out as is, it’s meant to be an experience of soup that you get to augment and to be as adventurous or wussified with as you like. They bring a giant steaming bowl of simple broth and rice noodles and the rest of the ingredients are brought to you on the side. I like to rip in a bunch of fresh herbs, some hot sauce (4 dashes for me), a squeeze fresh lime, and then some bean sprouts. The herbs are a must and by the way, when asked if you want the large or the regular bowl, most large bowls of Pho are about the size of your head.
So far I’ve found that the basic sides that most Vietnamese restaurants can agree on include fresh Thai Basil, Cilantro leaves, Bean Sprouts, and a wedge of Lime. The broths are clean, fresh and without complication. The simplicity of the broth provides a launching pad for a complexity that has for me become irresistible, as in “must have Pho once a week or my week is not complete.” In later posts I’ll reveal and revel in what I think are several more great places in Tucson for Vietnamese food and Pho. One last point I’d like to make about Vietnamese food. It’s always fresh and textured by simple combinations of ingredients that make for incredibly healthy and satisfying food. It is palette pleasing both to the eye and the mouth. Closer to Thai and far from Chinese, Vietnamese cooking and meals are becoming one of my favorite things to explore and cook in my own kitchen. Let’s talk about the restaurant, “I Luv Pho.”
Located in an ancient Strip Mall next to one of those mailbox places, it is hard to spot, nothing special to look at inside or out and frankly offers the ambience of a gas station with a few haphazardly placed tables and some Buddha’s. Sparse. The service is average and the food comes out with little fan fare BUT OH MY Buddha, the taste of the #3 Pork and Shrimp Rice rolls in combination with the Sliced Beef Pho is what keeps me coming back. Since discovering Pho in general I’ve eaten lunch at I Luv Pho at least 10 times in the last three months. The service and everything about the place can be inconsistent and sometimes verges on maddening but lately they seem to have “gotten it.” There is one thing, and I need your help on. Pho without copious amounts of fresh basil ripped into it is akin to a McDonald’s cheese burger with no fries. As in, why bother!? I suggest that before you commit to ordering that you stick your head in the door and ask them if they have fresh Thai basil today and if they say no, go to another place. Would also like to add that the plant variety known as Thai Basil is another new guilty pleasure of mine and would appreciate anyone that knows where to get it fresh and on a consistent basis reply to this post for the benefit of all our readers and your fellow foodies. I’ll post it for everyone’s benefit in our upcoming and new “Food Resources” section we are adding to the website.
The rice paper rolled, not fried, shrimp-pork-rice and fresh herb rolls come with a peanut sauce that is is just like the roll itself, simple and perfectly balanced. There are only a few tables tops at this hole in the wall and I’d appreciate it if you would not tell your friends about our new little secret- let’s keep it between you and me.
Pho like mist Vietnamese food is super affordable and healthy. It’s an excellent choice for an excellent light yet hardy lunch.
So whether you are new to Pho or you’re light years ahead of me in your Vietnamese cuisine experiences, I’d recommend I Luv Pho located on Campbell Blvd. Please if you want to turn us onto your favorite- jump in and post a reply.
You say soup, I say Pho at I Luv Pho.2513 N Campbell Ave
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 795-3922 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (520) 795-3922 end_of_the_skype_highlighting