Pho is so prevalent in Little Saigon that OC Weekly’s Stick a Fork in It blog devotes an annual college basketball-style elimination bracket to the Vietnamese noodle soup, which they call Final Pho. Most establishments in the region showcase beef broth, but the base ingredient occasionally strays to other beasts. Pho Dakao, named for a Saigon neighborhood well known for street food, has two locations that specialize in Vietnamese chicken dishes.
The boxy white building has blue accents, tile flooring, glass on all sides, and a greenhouse style covered patio. People come to Pho Dakao for the food though, not décor.
Pho Ga Long ($5.50) is a hearty rice noodle soup with a clean, clear chicken broth, floating cilantro and scallions, hacks of juicy white meat, and chicken tripe, which aren’t exactly cuts of poultry you’d find at El Pollo Loco, things like gizzards and intestines. To accentuate the pho ga, they delivered a plate of crisp basil, sawtooth herb (aka culantro), and lime wedges.
Pho Ga Kho Long ($5.50) was almost equally satisfying, vermicelli noodles stir fried with soy sauce, sweet onions, gizzards, liver, breast meat and more. On the side, they serve bowls of chile’d fish sauce, soy sauce spiked with ginger and chilies, and cilantro’d chicken broth.
One of the great things about Little Saigon is Vietnamese variety, and that not every place plays to type. Yes, beef pho can be great, but so can chicken pho, and the adjacent towns of Garden Grove, Westminster and Fountain Valley have room for all.
Pho Dakao has a second location: 10692 Katella Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92804, 714.956.5968.