Kanpai: Pho Soup

Sun Wortman, owner of the Vietnamese restaurant Kanpai (4563 Washington Ave.), beams when discussing her restaurant’s award-winning sushi, but her pride is overwhelming—and well-deserved—when she considers a restaurant favorite of patrons, the large, light, and tasty pho soup.

This traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, packed with onions, thinly sliced steak, and rice noodles, is so thick the wait staff provides a fork as the proper dining utensil. It is a bowl-filled balanced diet, and though these ingredients bring substance to the soup, the meal also includes jalapenos, bean sprouts, and a lime on the side to sway the soup with flavor. The broth consumes the flavors of its optional side dishes. Wortman recommends a splash of hot sauce if the patron wants to truly kick it up a notch, but the soup’s flavor is up to the clientele’s discretion.

The steak slices swim above the delicate rice noodles, and the noodles are so light you feel as though you aren’t eating, which is why serving sizes are so large. “Everyone leaves with the soup to finish at home,” Wortman reflects. The $5.95 lunch size (see photo) is ample, but the $8.95 dinner portion nearly doubles its lunch counterpart to create a thoroughly satisfying—and very commendable—dish.

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