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Sunday, April 21, 2024
HomeTravel GuidePhoOh NO! Bad Pho: Missoula, MT

Oh NO! Bad Pho: Missoula, MT

In the past, I’ve written about the top places to get pho in the world. Now, I am inadvertently beginning to compile a list of the world’s most disappointing. Those include New York and Mongolia and even this place in Saigon.

Missoula may have great burgers but it doesn’t have good pho, at least that was my takeaway from dining in at the Vietnam Noodle Restaurant.

I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews especially when it’s a mom and pop business but as the pho king I owe it to humanity to tell the truth. So what happened?

The Spring Rolls

The spring rolls came shrink wrapped. They tasted pretty fresh but it was obvious they had been refrigerated. There were cold spots within the roll that threw off the taste. The peanut sauce was runny and not appetizing.

Shrink wrapped?
Shrink wrapped?

The Price

A good hint that a pho restaurant won’t be great is if they specialize in all sorts of Asian cuisine, Chinese, Thai etc. Either live and die for pho or make takeaway Chinese food. Another tell-tale sign that a pho restaurant won’t be good is the price. Though I would pay $20 to have pho from Hanoi here in the United States, my experiences have proven that more expensive means less quality. Here, the bowls were around $10, a bit steep for broth and undercooked meat.

The Bowl 

  • The Sprouts: They lacked life.
  • The Broth: If the broth is opaque, try the steak, said the former pho king, Johnnie Cochran. The broth was dark and tasteless. It got better as the bowl went on but truly great bowls go from great to epic, not from bland to meh.
  • The Steak: Cheap cuts, lacking flavor.
  • The Noodles: Not the right taste either.
Can’t see the bottom, not a good sign.
Looks can be deceiving.

The Cafe Su Dah

No good.


$40 lunch for terrible pho, oh no!

If I don't finish the bowl...
If I don’t finish, that’s all you need to know.

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