FEB 29, 16 .. HONG KONG RESTAURANT .. PHO TAI

HELLO and HAPPY LEAP YEAR FEBRUARY 29th 2016!

The fact that the name of a restaurant is in the above title and it has its very own category makes it something very special.

PHO TAI is very special indeed.

PHO TAI is located on Bonham Strand in the Sheung Wan district on the West side of Hong Kong. It is located a mere few minutes from my former flat at 23 Mercer Street. My friend Simon introduced me to PHO TAI within a day after we two met in December 2014.
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Not only did Simon introduce me to PHO TAI as a restaurant .. Simon took me through the complicated menu and together we found what I like. Simon would order a dish for himself and I would look at it and try it if it looked good to me. Simon and I ate at PHO TAI often .. three / four times a week minimum. I get a little ‘tug’ seeing these photos of Simon.
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Note the Vietnamese spelling of the name.DSCN2977
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Below is what you see immediately inside of the entrance door. In the above three photos you can also see this area.
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Below is the view you see as you walk into the dining area of PHO TAI. In the far left corner is what has become my most favorite booth. To the right by the white tile wall is my second most favorite seating area. The kitchen is in the left background.DSCN2973

Below looks back at the entrance. I am sitting in my second favorite seat. You can see the back side of the assorted condiment display of spices for sale that I showed in the second photo above.DSCN2986

The next three photos below were taken from my favorite booth in the corner. See the second photo above. All look towards the entrance.DSCN2965
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The menu.DSCN2981

The manager. She is the greatest!DSCN2966

WHAT’S TO EAT CAPTAIN?

The first dish below is my first ever meal at PHO TAI. The main entree on the upper left is ‘Raw Beef Noodles’ with Bean Sprouts in the upper right and a ‘Spring Roll’ at the bottom. This was a ‘set meal’ and cost HKG $ 62 / US $ 8.00. I liked it the first time I ate at PHO TAI and I still like it a lot.

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Next is ‘Lemongrass Beef with Rice’. It costs HKG $ 40/ US $ 5.16. It is also one of my favorite entrees at PHO TAI.
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I am here to tell you that it is just wonderful. As you can see you mix everything up and enjoy.DSCN2969

Next we have probably my most favorite entree.  It is called ‘Shredded Chicken Noodle in Soup’.
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I can NOT explain to you why it is so delicious but trust me .. It is one of the most delicious entrees I have ever eaten in my life. It comes with a sweet / sour sauce (a small bowl of about 1 full cup and I always get a second bowl) that you pour over the entree. Yes you see lettuce and onion sprouts peeking up at you. To eat it you just dive into it and eat from the bottom up.DSCN9549[1]

With a glass of frosty and cold ‘Lemon Iced Tea’ it costs HKG $ 48 / US $ 6.19.DSCN9582[1]

Why not show you a few more photos? On the right side of the bowl in the below two photos above the green onions you see fried shredded onions.DSCN2987
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I mean to tell you this entree disappears when I attack it. Ask Patti if it is a very large serving. Patti has never eaten the entire entree by herself.
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“What’s that ‘Zilla?” .. “NO ‘Zilla .. PHO TAI does NOT serve Singapore Rice Noodles.”

“YES YES and a resounding YES ‘Zilla! The above ‘Shredded Chicken Noodle in Soup’ rivals my beloved Singapore Rice Noodles! I rate them a toss-up. One day I will opt for one and another day the other. I think the ‘Shredded Chicken’ is more healthy than the Singapore Rice Noodles but today I ate SRN as my main meal.”

As I write this post I have Patti here with me in spirit because Patti also loves PHO TAI. Patti loves the Shrimp Spring Rolls as her favorite entree at PHO TAI. Several times Simon was with Patti and I.  We have many very happy memories based on PHO TAI. Patti I am expecting you to SQUEEL as we go deeper down into this post. So get ready to SQUEEL. I think you will know when it’s your time. I know I SQUEELED with DELIGHT when I found what we are going to find. Onward.

The time has come to take a little ride on the Hong Kong MTR Subway System. So get ready to rock and roll on the Hong Kong MTR.

We are all going to explore an area of Kowloon called LAI CHI KOK.

Our trip will begin here in Kowloon at the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) MTR Station. Nathan Road is in the background.DSCN7883

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We will be riding on the red line called the TSUEN WAN line because it goes to LAI CHI KOK and beyond. TSUEN WAN is pronounced CHOON WAN .. No sound of SUE is heard. DSCN7846

At least 80% of all of my Hong Kong MTR rides involve the TSUEN WAN (CHOON WAN) line.
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Our train will be here in two minutes.DSCN7820

Can you see LAI CHI KOK on the below MTR line route information sign. Hard to see but it is the 7th station down from the top.
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We are ON THE TRAIN.

“What’s that ‘Zilla?” ..  “You would have never guessed we are on the train.”DSCN9534[1]
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Within each and every MTR car .. Above each doorway .. You have a route map with lighted station indicators. Do you all see LAI CHI KOK on the upper left below? Now you can see why the TSUEN WAN line is called The Red Line.DSCN7836
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We have arrived at LAI CHI KOKDSCN9554[1]Each MTR station has its very own basic color scheme.
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We are heading for the D Exit.DSCN9559[1]

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Sometimes it happens. STEPS .. A LOT OF STEPS ..
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We are now at street level here in LAI CHI KOK.DSCN9566[1]

“Patti! Do you see what I see on the right!” .. “We have stumbled upon a SUBWAY sandwich shop here in LAI CHI KOK.”DSCN9567[1]

A fairly short ride on the MTR from the Homy Inn in Tsim Sha Tsui ..DSCN9563[1]

“Did you SQUEEL Patti?” ..DSCN9565[1]

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Hong Kong .. Kowloon .. LAI CHI KOK .. Just look at an area none of us have ever heard of and get some idea of the size of this megapolis!DSCN9568[1]

OH MY GOODNESS WHAT DO I SEE?!
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PHO TAI IN LAI CHI KOK!DSCN9593[1]

Did THAT get a SQUEEL out of you Patti?DSCN9570[1]

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Let’s all of us go inside of PHO TAI .. LAI CHI KOK!

The below photo was taken immediately inside of the entrance. DSCN9591[1]

Walking directly straight ahead to the dining area in the back of the restaurant.
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Looking left above and right below at the seating area in the rear of the restaurant. I vote it as ‘very nice’!DSCN9590[1]

I took a seat in the booth on the right below immediately behind the lady with her children.DSCN9591[1]

The following photos were taken from my seat in the booth. The first photo looks forward at the front entryway.
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Now I ‘pan’ to my right.DSCN9573[1]

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The kitchen area is ahead in the center of the below photo.
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I have now ‘panned’ around to the rear seating area. The kitchen is on the extreme left below.DSCN9583[1]

My jury has come back with another vote .. PHO TAI .. LAI CHI KOK is very pleasant.

No doubt about it .. We are really in a PHO TAI restaurant.DSCN9575[1]

Hard .. Impossible .. To read but you all get the idea.DSCN9577[1]“What’s that ‘Zilla?” ..

“Please show us THE FOOD CAPTAIN!”

‘Shredded Chicken Noodle in Soup’ ..
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Owners of several restaurants strive to have a consistent product in each location. Above and below .. ‘Shredded Chicken Noodle in Soup’ with a frosty ‘Lemon Iced Tea’ is very close to being identical with PHO TAI .. SHEUNG WAN ..DSCN9578[1]

Oh My Oh My was it good!

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The Union of United Singapore Rice Noodles are screaming at me .. “DAD .. What is going on here DAD! WE are your number one meal DAD!”
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The time has come the Walrus said .. ‘One More For The Marine Corps’. Since I have found this PHO TAI .. LAI CHI KOK .. I really needed to check out the Lemongrass Beef with Rice.

‘One More For The Marine Corps!’

‘Lemongrass Beef with Rice’ ..
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Basically it is identical to PHO TAI .. SHEUNG WAN. Not precisely identical but basically identical.DSCN9586[1]

Actually I give-the-nod on the ‘Lemongrass Beef with Rice’ pretty much hands-down to PHO TAI .. LAI CHI KOK.DSCN9587[1]

By the time I had finished this (two-part two-day) adventure the sun had set so I said Good Night to PHO TAI .. LAI CHI KOK .. in the dark of night.
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Well My Dear Patti .. It has been very nice to have you sitting beside me here as I have put this project together. You and only you can totally relate to this post.

Now for a little bit of ..

THE REST OF THE STORY ..

Rest In Eternal Peace Mister Paul Harvey!

Way back when .. Perhaps last January or February 2015 .. When Simon and I were going to PHO TAI .. SHEUNG WAN .. Very often .. I seem to remember Simon mentioning to me .. “Cap there are other PHO TAI restaurants.” I am not positive but I also think that he alluded to fact the others were very good as well.

This past week .. For some reason .. I asked the manager at PHO TAI .. SHEUNG WAN .. about this ..DSCN2966

As Patti will attest .. The manager is a very nice lady and had taken Simon and myself ‘to raise’ you might say. She fussed and fretted over the two of us .. me especially. More than one time she bit-the-bullet and took back an entree I did not like and let me pick another.

So when I asked her about other PHO TAI restaurants .. Patti will attest to the fact she speaks NO English at all .. It is amazing but true .. Somehow she conveyed to me that .. “Yes there are others.”

“What to do.”

So out and off goes gimme-some Roy to the land that knows no time .. down a trail no man can conquer .. to a cliff no man can climb .. FROM THE SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT HIGH .. SHEL SILVERSTEIN ..

So out and off I go to the Hong Kong Central Library and I ask MY MAN (his name is Sunset Yu) to find me other PHO TAI restaurants ..

So out and off goes Sunset Yu TO GOOGLE ..

He found that there are four PHO TAI restaurants here in the greater Hong Kong Metro Area ..

So out and off goes Sunset Yu TO GOOGLE MAPS ..

The top RED BALLOON is the LAI CHI KOK MTR station. The bottom RED BALLOON is my Tsim Sha Sui MTR station.

Below is a closer look at the LAI CHI KOK area.

Can you all believe that in 12-hours I will be out at Chek Lap Kok International Airport and in 24-hours I will be IN Ulaanbaatar Mongolia probably in bed sound asleep. Did I have time to do this post today? No! Could I NOT do this post today? NO!

With Much Joy I Sign Off .. I MUST DO SOME PACKING ..

Cap and Patti with-me-in-spirit ..

5 thoughts on “FEB 29, 16 .. HONG KONG RESTAURANT .. PHO TAI

  1. Jeanne Follett

    Pho Tai in Sheunh Wan? Hey! I recognize that place. The lemongrass beef looks luscious. So, your next assignment is to find out if Pho Tai is a franchise chain, or if one rich mogul owns them all. Nice post. Now I’m hungry.

    1. cap chastain

      At this writing there are .. to the best of my knowledge .. four PHO TAI restaurants. So it would appear that one person owns them all. Happy you enjoyed the post. It was fun to put it up.

  2. Patti

    WOW … I got a lump in my throat seeing the pictures of Simon again. What an impact he made on our lives! And, you discovered another beloved Subway restaurant AND another Pho Tai … the pictures of the meals are identical to our Pho Tai in Sheung Wan. I DID squeel! The pictures of the MTR walkways are SO impressive with their cleanliness … THE AMAZING HONG KONG. Thanks for bringing me right back there beside you!! Love, Patti

    1. cap chastain

      You are most welcome and Thank YOU for sharing it all with me again via this post. I am at the Starbucks out in the satellite terminal here at Hong Kong International and decided to try and use the computer here. So far so good. I too got a real ‘tug’ seeing Simon again via the photos. But I had to give Simon his due because I may never have found PHO TAI without him. So happy we are in touch by cell phone as I wait for my now delayed by four hours flight North to Ulaan Baatar in Mongolia. Much Love .. Cap

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