Red Bank is my favorite food town in NJ. I’m never bored there because there’s such an eclectic mix of restaurants to choose from, and literally all of them are fantastic. I was really looking forward to trying Via 45, a seasonal farm to table Italian restaurant, but because I do dumb things sometimes, I forgot to make a reservation! Dinner at 8:30? No thanks. Oh well… I’ll be back.. Was I disappointed that I didn’t get to eat there? A bit. But fear not, foodies! As I said, there is no shortage of fabulous places to eat in Red Bank! We decided to try another option on my list of omgineedtotrythat restaurants– Pho Le Vietnamese! Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh, pure flavors. Bright herbs, crisp vegetables, light and spicy dipping sauces, and simply, perfectly cooked meats make Vietnamese food delicious, and mostly very healthy!
To drink, I ordered the Green Tea Bubble Tea Smoothie! Bubble tea was one of the foods on my New Year bucket list of dishes to taste, and I’ve actually had it a couple of times now– one of them was actually also last week (blog post coming soon!)– and this drink is every bit as wonderful as I expected it to be! I had never seen green tea as a bubble tea flavor before, and it was perfect! I love bubble tea for its chewy tapioca pearls at the bottom!
For an appetizer, we ordered Saigon crepes made with coconut and rice flour. I don’t know if I would necessarily call it a crepe– it was shaped like a thick omelette with a chewier, eggier texture than a crepe or pancake, and it had shrimp, chicken, onions and bean sprouts cooked into it. The crepe was served with romaine lettuce on the side to use taco style… sound familiar? I tried this method the last time I made Korean bulgogi beef and it was a minor disaster. I’m a total mess when it comes to wrapping things in lettuce, but it wasn’t quite as difficult because there weren’t as many items inside to come toppling out of the lettuce. There was also fresh cilantro and mint to add into the wrap, and a spicy sweet chili sauce for dipping! These crepes were like nothing I’ve ever tasted before– they were so unique and absolutely delicious!
Then, I had the Chicken Pho! Before I talk about Pho, I feel that I need to clear up the pronunciation. After some research and asking around, I was informed that it is not pronounced phO as one would expect. I also learned that it is not pronounced phA as many believe. It is actually phUH! I went around for years calling it phO and had no idea! When my warm, steamy, massive bowl of Pho, plate of basil and bean sprouts, and trio of sauces arrived at the table I just knew I was in for something good. This Pho was composed of a flavorful broth with linguine shaped rice noodles, chicken, and very thinly sliced onions.
Hoisin, chili paste, and sriracha were on the table to add in. I like spicy food but not things that are too too spicy. I find very spicy food to be kind of exhausting. The mouth-on-fire sensation just requires too much unnecessary stress for me. I know, I’m weird. Anyway, I squirted in some lime, a little bit of the hoisin– a barbeque-like sauce used all the time in Asian cooking– for some extra flavor, and the tiniest dots of chili paste and sriracha, which gave my Pho the perfect little kick. It was such a comforting and satisfying soup! I’ll definitely be returning to Pho Le to get endless amounts of super yummy Vietnamese food!
P.S. My pictures are back! Blog.com decided to be nice to me today! Woooooh!!!
Enjoy! Love, The Perky Foodie