Pho 54 - Westminster
I don't find it the least bit ironic that I found out about Pho 54's daily deals from one of the wealthiest people I know. The guy is loaded alright, but he didn't become that way by eating at Charlie Palmer's every day.
Frugality, as many self-help financial gurus will tell you, goes a long way. And at Little Saigon, you can eat like a king for a pauper's price, even without penny pinching tips like this.
But here's the scoop I got from my Rich Dad friend: Pho 54 (or as I like to call it, to the chagrin of my lovely dining companion, "foe-fay-dee-foe"), has daily specials that slashes prices on entrees like what you see above to insane levels. I've yet seen it rise above $3.95 (note: since they scribble the prices in non-permanent marker, your mileage may vary).
The dishes rotate daily (just check the whiteboard as you enter), but on a recent Sunday the deal was for three dishes: The seafood pho, the fried catfish filet, and a plate of baked mussels.
For the seafood pho, the normal plate of accoutrements (bean sprouts, saw leaf, basil, lime, and jalapenos) are presented first. But I didn't need any of it except the bean sprouts. The broth, in actuality, is tom yum, the sweet/sour/hot elixir that Thai restaurants serve in those chimney pots, and it needs no further embellishment. Sipping the punchy brew made my brow dampen and mouth throb instantly.
Here, Pho 54 one-ups the Thai staple not only in price, but with noodles and so much seafood it renders the toll I paid almost criminal. Chunks of fish, two mussels, squid scored like a pineapple, and a fistful of shrimp were all boiled to its wiggly best. Every morsel was tender; nothing was overcooked, which proves my theory that everyone in Little Saigon knows how to treat seafood.
Then there was the fried catfish filet -- an enormous slab of the river swimmer, here boneless, lightly-breaded and deep fried to a golden brown. A gossamer-thin crunch hid the virgin white of its flesh, which was moist, supple and without any of the muddiness I usually associate with the bottom-dweller.
For dabbing and dunking (or all around slathering), there was a spicy pink concoction that matched the color of the dome of rice; but the sauce tasted like Sriracha-laced Thousand Island.
Conceivably, I could eat at Pho 54 every day, save a bundle, and some day, be as rich as my friend. If his secret is being cheap, I'm already halfway there.
15420 Brookhurst St
Westminster, CA 92683
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