A relatively enduring fixture of Holland Village, Pho Hoa was where I first had Vietnamese pho. Once an extensive presence in Singapore, it's now just the one on our sunny shores, with many of their franchised counterparts scattered in North America and East Asia. I suppose, in this day and age where Vietnamese establishments are a dime and dozen, Pho Hoa pales in comparison. It's not to say their food sucks, afterall, there's gotta be a reason for their longevity in the revolving door of eateries in the bohemian village. The casual diner passes muster, but barely, and their price points are probably a huge factor in their staying power.
A word to the wise: bring lots of deodorant; Pho Hoa's poorly ventilated so fully expect to walk out reeking of the day-old frying oil and a mish-mash of bone stock.
The Cha Gio ($6) was decent flavour-wise, but seemed more like the usual Chinese spring rolls than a Vietnamese rice-paper wrap.
The Bun Ga Nuong ($13.95), a massive bowl of fresh vegetables and grilled chicken, sauced up with a salty dip, made for quite the refreshing salad.
The Pho Tai Bo Vien ($12.95), a hefty stock that was laden with MSG, was topped with juicy striploin and meatballs.
The Pho Ga ($11.95), a clear chicken-based noodle soup, was lighter than I'd expected, but still reeked of artificial MSG.
18 Lorong Mambong
Tel: 6467 3662
Open daily from 11am to 10pm