photo credit: Sydney McElwee
Everyone has some weird concoction or secret recipe that they swear by when they get sick. For some people, it’s an herbal tea that their mom gave to them when they were a kid. For others, it might be lemon yogurt with a few drops of tabasco or a whole watermelon soaked in cough syrup and topped with three raw egg yolks (please don’t attempt either of these at home). For us, it’s Phở 75 in South Philly.
The thing about their phở that makes it so good is the broth. It’s clear, not cloudy, and it’s both light and savory. You can taste the beef and herbs in it, and it’s perfectly salty. If we had any songwriting abilities, we’d write it a love song called “My Love Is Phở Real,” perform it at an open mic night, be booed off stage, and then come home and cry into our bowl of Phở 75 broth. Alas, we don’t write songs. We write reviews. And Phở 75 has the best phở in the city, hands down.
When you sit down to order, know that your options are (in a sense) both very narrow and limitless. You’re getting phở and it’s pretty much your only option, but there are at least 50 different combinations you can make here with the meat alone. Feel free to get whatever feels right, but the well-done brisket and eye-round beef are what we always get.
Phở 75 is located in a strip mall right off Washington Street and you really can’t miss it—there’s a huge yellow banner on the side of the building with “Phở 75” written in red block letters at least six times. It’s where you should go anytime you want a bowl of phở, whether you have a hangover that you’re calling a “24-hour flu” to get out of work, or you forgot to adhere to your one bar rule and ended up taking shots with an old man who swore the Malaysian airplane that disappeared a few years ago was an inside job. It’s the medicine everyone needs.
This is what you’re having. The broth is light and salty and the rice noodles are the tiny thin kind that you can slurp up without looking like a complete idiot. Mix and match your selection of meats in the bowl—they’re all good, but we prefer the well-done brisket and eye-round beef.