Above, Pho Tran88's Vermicelli Noodle Bowl with Grilled Shrimp and all the fixings. Below, Pho Nam with brisket and trimmings. Daily Record photos by Colton Ashabranner & Stephanie Gates
Foodie Friday: Pho Tran88
Have you been looking to satisfy a pho craving in San Marcos? A new Vietnamese restaurant just opened up downtown, just off of the square last week with a wide selection of authentic cuisine.
Whether you are in the mood for some cozy and savory soup, a fresh vermicelli bowl or a hearty Bahn Mi sandwich, Pho Tran88 has something for you. They even have plenty of vegetarian and gluten free options.
We started our meal with the fried tofu spring rolls. These soft spring rolls came with vermicelli, and fresh lettuce, cucumber and mint rolled in rice paper with a chunky hoisin peanut sauce for dipping. It was the perfect light appetizer to start, with the option of grilled shrimp instead of tofu.
For myself, I ordered a Vermicelli Noodle Bowl with perfectly grilled shrimp. All of their noodle bowls come with rice noodles, lettuce, cilantro, cucumber and bean sprouts, topped with crushed peanuts and fried onions. The sweet and tangy fish sauce on the side balances the meal well. Don’t enjoy fish? Try the dish with grilled pork, grilled or stir fried chicken, lemongrass or stir fried beef. You can even add egg rolls
My dining partner ordered a classic Vietnamese noodle soup with a Texan twist: the Pho Nam (brisket with trimmings). The rice noodle soup was filled to the brim with a rich and beefy broth. The brisket and trimmings were the perfect accompaniment. The meat was tender and perfectly flavored from the broth. All pho come with bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos and lime to add extra flavor and crunch to the heaping bowl.
Looking for a more traditional choice? Try the Pho with sliced beef, rare beef and tendons, chicken or shrimp. Beef meatballs, chew chow simmered duck and chicken are among the other options, if you’re looking for something different. Although all the soups come with chicken or beef broth, you can always opt for fried tofu or mixed vegetables as a lighter option.
Not only do they offer Pho, they also offer wonton soup, egg drop soup and hot and sour soup for a starter soup. Other appetizer options include shrimp fried spring rolls, fried pork egg rolls served with fresh vegetables, Chinese egg rolls and pork pot stickers.
For a more adventurous choice to start, order the crab puffs: a fried wonton with cream cheese and imitation crab meat.
Looking for something on the go? Try the Bahn Mi, Vietnamese sandwiches that come in grilled pork, grilled beef, grilled chicken or fried tofu, served with house special mayo, carrots, cucumber, jalapeno and cilantro.
Does none of this cuisine appeal to you? Don’t worry, you can choose from a long list of fried rice plates or stir fried noodle plates with just about every type of protein option.
You can even finish your savory meal with a rich, chocolatey Vietnamese Iced Coffee that comes with condensed milk or a Thai Tea.
IF YOU GO:
Pho Tran88 is located at 212 N. LBJ Dr. They are open 7 days a week. Monday-Thursday from 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.