Today I was feeling adventurous, and met my friend Kate to get pho at Milwaukee’s Asian Market Phongsavan. I say adventurous because it was sort of a hike to get there, we were in a serious time crunch with naps quickly approaching, and I had no idea if my kids would actually eat pho.
I’m going to give you instructions, in case you want to check out this authentic spot. Above is the view from the street, it’s just off of 76th near a CVS in a pretty much unmarked building. Look for lots of cars parked in the parking lot and on the street.
Go in this door. And shut it behind you.
Make your way down the main aisle, go through to the next section of the building, and when it ends, the pho restaurant will be on your right.
We ordered at the counter from a nice gentleman who asked if we wanted regular or special soup (he said the latter contains pork). The menu was fairly basic and didn’t give options for different meats/meatless versions of the soup, so I just said “I’ll have what she’s having” and added an order of fried rice for the kids, because they had all declared on the drive to the restaurant that they don’t like soup.
And this was our lunch bunch (minus a picture of the beautiful Kate). I spotted a counter opposite the restaurant’s counter, and went over to get some rice cake things and some bread for the kids.
When I got back to the table, our food was being served. We quickly made up plates, because eating lunch with a 5 year old, a triplet of three year olds, and a one year old pretty much equals a race to eat as fast as possible before things get messy. My soup was delicious. Kate’s vote is that this is the best pho in town, but I’m going to reserve that title for my ranking. In all honesty, I’m sort of freaked out by meat. I really only eat vegetable/tofu pho (though I know the broth isn’t vegetarian), and was brave about but not a huge fan of the tripe (insert wide-eyed emoji).
All of my kids loved the fried rice, two of them liked the broth of my soup, and everyone liked the noodles I fished out of my soup for them. Little A was very interested in the jalapeños, which I had stated were very spicy. She then asked Kate, “do you like your…howtotrainyourdragons?”. Hilarious that “jalapeño” was translated into a DreamWorks movie. But if you say the pepper’s name in conjunction with the movie title, you’ll realize she wasn’t that far off.
Baby S enjoyed the noodles immensely, and when she ran out of them she filled her time by sticking a chopstick in my water.
Our friend A chose the much-coveted green sticky rice ball thing. And you can imagine his disappointment when it dropped on the ground. Poor guy.
But then this happened!
On our way out, we stopped to look at some of the produce.
Even though we didn’t speak the same language, the ladies behind the stand helped me discover the rambutan fruit. I’d never seen or heard of it, and one woman opened one up for me and the twins to try.
Here’s a picture of the inside of the fruit. You basically just peel off the spiny skin, and are left with a soft white fruit. Its texture was similar to a pear, and the flavor was mild and sweet.
After sharing and then purchasing some rambutan, we headed to look at some of the clothing, jewelry, medicinal goods, and much much more.
It was nice to be in such an out-of-the-ordinary place (for me, anyway). When I asked Little A what she thought, she said “it’s so…different! I like it!”.
On our way out, a fellow toddler waved constantly and shouted “good bye!!!” in the sweetest way ever, and we made the mistake of looking at toys. There are many, many toys for sale there. And right after the display of toy guns and babies in strollers, we had a meltdown that we didn’t buy any toys.
We had a great lunch, and thanks for my lady Kate for introducing me to this gem. We’ll be back for sure. I know they have much more on the menu than pho and rice, so we’ll have to get more adventurous and give the various items a shot.
Here are few more links with information about the spot, maybe we’ll see you there someday!
A . Storm