If you lived in Ellicott City and craved Vietnamese food or pho at some point in time, chances are you’ve eaten (or at least heard of) Pho No. 1 simply because it’s one of the OG pho places in the area. The restaurant, located in the Westview shopping center off Baltimore National Pike, opened around the time pho started becoming popular.
The menu at Pho No. 1 is very extensive–there are well over 100 menu items, ranging from starters like spring rolls to rice dishes to, of course, pho.
But when I last went, it was rainy and cold and I wanted something with a little more kick than pho. So I got Bun Bo Hue instead. Yes, the irony of ordering a non-pho dish at a restaurant named after pho is not lost on me. And yet, I’d argue that the bún bò huế here is better than the pho!
The dark red pork broth hits all the checkmarks of what a good bun bo hue broth ought to be: spicy, sour, salty, and sweet. The thick, round, slippery noodles were cooked with the perfect amount of chewiness. And the kitchen was certainly not shy about using ingredients like pig feet and congealed blood. And as is tradition, it came with a plate full of fresh herbs, veggies, and sprouts.
Though I’d personally would have liked the broth to be a touch sweeter, it was still probably one of the best renditions of the dish that I’ve had in the area. Definitely planning to come back when I'm craving a nice, hearty bowl of bun bo. I'd suggest you do to!
Pho No 1
Located in the Westview shopping center.
5764 Baltimore National Pike
Catonsville, MD 21228