It’s not too difficult to find a Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok serving popular tasty Viet dishes. But what is difficult is finding a Vietnamese restaurant in Bangkok that makes a deliciously satisfying bowl of Vietnam’s national noodle soup dish, Pho. But after discovering Pho 14 (official Facebook page) that search for me is now over. Mission complete!
Pho 14 makes an excellent bowl of traditional Saigon-style beef and chicken pho, which is served in ample portion sizes at a very fair price. If you’re a fan of pho, you need to know about this place!
Pho 14 offers many other dishes on their menu that also deserve praise. This article will give you a taste of what they have to offer. Let’s begin!
A bit about the menu and pho…
First, let me introduce you to their menu. As you can see, the focus here is pho. Go figure with a restaurant name like “Pho 14”, right? If you’re not a fan of pho, don’t worry. There are plenty of other tasty main dishes to enjoy along with some filling starters.
Update: Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) is now available on their menu for 190 baht!
But let’s discuss pho.
In Vietnam, there are two distinct styles of pho: Northern (Hanoi-style) and Southern (Saigon-style). They differ from the noodles, broth, meats, toppings, and sauces. Saigon-style pho uses thinner rice noodles and has a more flavorful broth. Meat is used sparingly in the North. In the South, meat is the star of the show with beef brisket, tendons, marrow, and meatballs often comprising the cast.
Just as what goes in the pho differs, there are also differences as to what goes on the pho. In the North, green onion dominates the soup as a seasoning. The South offers a variety of herbs such as Thai basil, coriander, and bean sprouts to season the soup. Condiments in the North are a simple mix of rice vinegar, fish sauce, and chili sauce. The South offers lime slices, hoisin sauce, chili sauce, and sliced fresh chilies.
Pho 14 serves the Southern style of pho, which is probably why it’s so good!
For the visit, I wanted to try the beef and the beef balls so I made sure to order the Pho Tái Chin Bò Viên (220 baht). I had no urge to try the beef entrails but if that’s your thing (you do you) an add-on option is available for an extra 20 baht.
Pho 14 uses only quality imported Australian beef in their pho. The rare cuts are sliced thin and served immediately with the soup so that the broth cooks the tender slices of tenderloin. The large meatballs have a springy texture and rich beefy flavor. These do not taste like those highly processed meatballs you see everywhere. These taste homemade.
I asked if they were making these beefy bites in-house or getting them from a local source. The owner demurred confirming that they were homemade but not in-house and keeping his source secret. When they’re this good, some details are worth protecting!
What really makes this an amazing bowl of pho is the broth. Beef bones, brisket, and plenty of herbs simmered in a 12-hour process result in a bold-flavored broth that unless you do something really crazy with it condiment wise, you’ll be scraping the bowl to collect every satisfying drop.
This is what traditional Saigon-style pho should taste like. If you’re a pho aficionado you’re going to appreciate this recipe.
FUN FACT: You’ll only find this particular pho recipe served in 2 cities in the world, neither of them in Vietnam.
More on that later…
Bún Bò Xào
Pho 14 has more on their menu to rave about besides pho. Take for example this Bún Bò Xào (200 baht). This is a complete meal with vermicelli noodles, tender beef, herb salad, and even a cha gio crispy spring roll starter all rolled up in one bowl!
But what makes this dish really shine is the meat. Pho 14 doesn’t skimp on the tender slices of Australian beef sirloin, which is a flavor explosion after its 24-hour marination with lemongrass. This bowl packs a lot of flavors!
Pho 14 offers a few starters for those with a big appetite. We ordered the Bánh Cûon (180 baht) to kickstart our meal. Fortunately, this starter isn’t so large that it fills you up before the generously portioned main dishes arrive. It is BIG on flavor, though!
These rice flour crepes are filled with minced pork and wood ear mushrooms. They are served on a bed of mung bean sprouts and topped with crispy shallots, coriander, chili, and slices of white chả lụa sausage. Dip the crepes in the sweet vinegary sauce to punch of the flavors further!
Cà Phê Trứng
Pho 14 offers Pandan Jelly Pudding (60 baht) as their only dessert option on the menu. I feel this is misleading because their Vietnamese Egg Coffee (110 baht) is a must-have sweet finish to any meal here.
This cuppa takes time to make. But like Guinness, it is absolutely worth the wait!
It’s a layered drink from top to bottom: creamy egg yolk laboriously blended with sugar, Vietnamese robusta coffee, and sweetened condensed milk. Before you stir this treat up, take a sip of that top layer.
If your doctor advises you to “stay the hell away from egg yolks” (their words, not mine) you can still enjoy a sweet Vietnamese Coffee (80 baht) made with Trung Nguyen coffee and sweetened condensed milk.
It’s good but not egg cream coffee good.
A chat with the owner…
During the visit, I had a chance to chat with the owner of Pho 14, John. Born in Ho Chi Minh City, he spent the formative years of his life in Paris, France. While attending university he worked at his auntie’s Vietnamese Pho 14 restaurant (they have been operating for 40 years and now have two locations in the Chinatown and Opera sections of Paris).
After graduating, John moved to Los Angeles initially thinking to settle there for the longterm. But those long-term plans only lasted a few months as after accompanying his auntie on a whirlwind tour of Asia he fell in love with Bangkok. Abandoning the USA he took his entrepreneurial spirit to the Land of Smiles in which over a 25 year period he started a gemstone business, a tourism and travel company, and now his newest venture, Pho 14.
John’s inspiration for starting the restaurant was his inability to find a good bowl of pho in Bangkok. Unable to find one he decided to make it himself using his auntie’s recipes. Naming the restaurant Pho 14 is paying homage to the woman who fed the flames of his cooking interests, and generously shared her culinary secrets.
The restaurant initially opened in March of 2020, which due to COVID-19, John was scrambling to make it a successful delivery kitchen.
In May, the restaurant was open for dine-in and bustling on the weekends. By July it was fully open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays).
Despite opening at arguably the worst period of time for a new restaurant in Bangkok, Pho 14 was (and still is) successful for many reasons. First, the food is legit, delicious, and well-portioned. Second, the dishes are very fairly priced in comparison to competing venues and especially when considering the quality of ingredients. Finally, John is a very welcoming person who ensures guests have a positive and comfortable dining experience.
Now if you live in Bangkok you don’t have to go all the way to Vietnam to get a good bowl of pho, nor do you have to go all the way to Paris to get this bowl of pho!
I’m hungry. Where is it?
Pho 14 is located in the Nara Place Luxury Shopping Mall area on Sathu Pradit Rd off of Naradhiwat Rajanagarindra Rd. It’s a 10-minute walk from the Thanon Chan BRTA bus stop to the restaurant. There is ample parking available if you have a set of wheels.
Sitting is available both upstairs and downstairs.
They are quite popular on weekends. Reservations are especially encouraged for large groups.
Make sure to follow their Facebook page for updates to their menu.
PRO TIP: Fans of bánh mì will want to watch their page for upcoming news…**wink-wink**
I want to hear from you!
Should you decide to experience Pho 14 I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, directly to me, or via message on either the Chow Traveller Facebook page or Chow Traveller Instagram (and feel free to like/follow these pages if you want to learn about more foodie gems). However you choose, I’d love to hear from you!