Way back when I was working on St. Charles Avenue in the Warehouse District, nary a lunch would go by without one of my co-workers (one in particular) suggesting a trip across the river for Pho Tau Bay. It wouldn’t be too far a leap to suggest that this specific individual was a “pho-natic.” At the office’s previous location in Harahan, we frequently found ourselves placating his obsession by going to Kim Ahn’s Noodle House on Jefferson Highway. Don’t get me wrong, I love pho. It’s just not something I would eat on the daily, and I would frequently complain that we should try something else for a change, that is until I tried Pho Tau Bay’s wonton soup.
Ever since that fateful day, I haven’t been able to order anything else! I do always add a 1/2 order of egg rolls, but I simply cannot resist this most excellent wonton soup — its savory broth, delicate wontons with pork and shrimp filling, thin slices of smoky, salty char-grilled pork, and nest of rice noodles — it’s easily the best I’ve ever tasted. Though I have dined at Pho Tau Bay regularly for over ten years, I have never in all that time ordered it to-go. So, when John and I decided to order dinner a few months ago through Grubhub, we were pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s takeout efficiency level, a skill they had mastered long before the pandemic.
Not only did everything arrive in a timely manner, but the soups were skillfully packed with the meat and noodles separate from the broth, and all of the fabulous condiments we use at the restaurant came with it. I’m talking hoisin, sriracha, nước chấm (fish sauce), and soy sauce. The ubiquitous fresh herbs and veggies were also in attendance; basil, mint, coriander, bean sprouts, and jalapenos. We even got spork-sized versions of those Chinese spoons, not to mention several chopsticks! Now to be fair, the fried egg on top of John’s vermicelli bowl died in transit, but sunny side eggs are somewhat ethereal, are they not? The “bun bo xao cha gio” was still devoured with as much gusto had the yolk been intact.
Everything tasted as perfect as it always does. My only complaint is I missed the owners/employees friendly smiles and having a huge, piping hot bowl of wonton soup set before me, the comforting aroma rising up to my face. As terrific as their to-go game may be, I still prefer to enjoy my Pho Tau Bay experience in-house.