You can have prawns sautéed with carrots, onions, and water chestnuts spiked with a tamarind sauce; in canh chua, a pleasantly sour and delicately sweet soup of bean sprouts, tomato, and chunks of pineapple in a tamarind-flavored broth topped with sliced chiles for a bit of heat; or wrapped up in rice paper with things like grilled pork, mint, and rice vermicelli in plump, translucent spring rolls ready to be dipped into Tan's housemade peanut sauce.

If shrimp isn't your thing, there is a nicely refreshing bun thit nuong, the cold rice vermicelli noodle dish Tan puts together with thin slices of sweet, garlicky pork topped with peanuts and scallions over a stark white nest of noodles hiding crunchy vegetables and herbs. And if you like Tan's stewed catfish, chances are you'll crave it even more fried and lit up with a homemade ginger sauce served with slices of cucumber and tomato.

It isn't unusual that Tan will appear from the kitchen to chat with customers. He is immediately likable, his smile never fading — even when conversations may switch from food to life experiences that leave little to smile about: being wounded three times during the Vietnam War (that blacked-out mark on the map? It's because of Tan's hatred of the reviled Communist leader Ho Chi Minh), spending "five years, two months, and five days" in a concentration camp, and escaping Vietnam by fishing boat only to fight pirates before landing in Malaysia.

Pho A.V. offers satisfying traditional Vietnamese dishes that stretch a $10 bill just about as far as it will go.
Jackie Mercandetti
Pho A.V. offers satisfying traditional Vietnamese dishes that stretch a $10 bill just about as far as it will go.

Location Info

Map

Pho A.V.

3202 E. Greenway Road, 1289
Phoenix, AZ 85032

Category: Restaurant > Vietnamese

Region: North Phoenix

Details

Pho A.V.
3202 East Greenway Road
602-923-0241
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Spring roll: $3.50
Combination Beef Soup: $7.99
Sour shrimp soup: $8.99
Fried catfish with ginger sauce: $7.99

If you ask, Tan may even bring out his photo albums (on one of my visits, I went through six of them), that start with childhood photos and end with a beautiful burial structure Tan recently built for his parents on the same patch of land where his family's thatched hut once stood.

"I love my country, but I hate communism," Tan says. "And I love America, too. I am a lucky man."

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7 comments
Jenna Julius
Jenna Julius

I used to LOVE Pho Avina so this is great news!!

Josh Walden
Josh Walden

I went here in the first few months after they opened. This review is accurate. I felt like I was visiting someone's home. I'm glad they are still open!

 
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