Three Regions Fried Rice at Pho Dung

Categories: On the Menu

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Just because it calls itself a pho (Vietnamese beef noodle soup) restaurant doesn't mean that pho is the best thing to order. Case in point, when I walk into Pho Dung (11201 Bellaire Blvd # 815) in the Hong Kong City Mall IV, I notice as many rice dishes on the tables as I do noodle soups.

A friend of mine says she always orders Pho Dung's bun bo Hue (Vietnamese Hue-style beef noodle soup), and I like to order the com chien ba mien, which literally translated means "fried rice of three regions."

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Served on an attractive square plate, the orange-hued tomato-laced fried rice always seems to get my saliva going. Topped with "three regions" worth of ingredients -- lemongrass beef, chargrilled chicken, and two types of shrimp, small whole shrimp, and a fried shrimp cake wrapped in dried bean curd sheets -- the plate is always impressive.

Granted, ringing in at $8.65, it's one of the most expensive dishes on the menu, but when I'm hungry, the slightly greasy, oh-so-tasty fried rice combo totally hits the spot. If you eat it in the restaurant, it's served with a side of tangy fish sauce and a small bowl of consomme to help wash it down. It's a fairly large dish, and I always tell myself I'll pack half of it to go, but once I start eating it's hard not to clear the plate.

I hadn't been to Pho Dung in a while, and while it won't win any prizes for cleanliness, I didn't feel the need to re-wipe-down my cutlery because my fork and spoon came wrapped in a flat wax paper bag.

Along with a new fish tank and a new flat-screen TV playing the local Vietnamese cable channel, the clean cutlery appears to be part of an effort to gentrify the place and make it more friendly to non-Vietnamese patrons.

In fact, the new glossy laminated menus, complete with pictures of each type of meat and English translations, is one of the most educational pho menus I've seen.

Most of the dishes cost $6.50, so even if Pho Dung is not known for the best pho in town, you might want to give it a try. Or you can do as I do and get the fried rice.



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Location Info

Pho Dung Noodle House

11201 Bellaire Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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20 comments
amester976
amester976

Fun write-up! I only wish you were reviewing food in the SF Bay Area!!!

ReginaDupuis
ReginaDupuis

Thanks Mai! I welcome something about anyplace other than Mai's downtown. There are so many better, less expensive Viet places in Houston that don't have the budget or savvy to hire a PR firm, so it's a nice change to hear about the underdogs like this place.

Matthew Dresden
Matthew Dresden

Nice job, and welcome to EOW, Mai! The observation you make in your lead is fascinating -- what is it about restaurants that don't excel with their namesake specialties but are good for other things? In some cases (at least in the Chinese restaurants on Bellaire), it's because the restaurant kept the same English name through several different owners and even more chefs. I wonder if that's the case with Pho Dung. Was it ever known for having good pho?

mmmmmfooood
mmmmmfooood

I think they just added rice plate to the menu is that right? I havent been for awhile but i remember they only had noodle soup.

kylejack
kylejack

This looks good, and a place where $8 is pushing expensive is my kind of place.

PlimptonR
PlimptonR

I remember trying a pho place in Hong Kong market. The waiter kept saying 'round eye' and laughing with his co-worker. Once I made out the words he was saying, I replied 'yes, round eye, please', thinking he meant eye-of-round for my soup. We've had some good laughs over that.

Wyatt
Wyatt

Unfortunate name for a restaurant.

Ruthie J M
Ruthie J M

Great post, Mai! Glad to see you on EOW :)

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

@amester976, I WISH i could review food in the SF bay area, but that would require living there part time. hmmm, now there's an idea ;). Thx for reading.

Kiteflyhigh
Kiteflyhigh

I think that's Alison Cook's side-job....

Salinadepaz
Salinadepaz

good luck with that. the pr blitzkrieg for mai's has already begun, judging from nearly identical tweets from various food bloggers.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Matt, Pho Dung is a convenient-location sort of restaurant. It's close to the food court, there's usually room for fairly large parties, and the pho is decent, but no, they aren't known for their pho. As for using "pho" in the name, the mentality is if you're Vietnamese, everyone eats pho, so there will always be customers.

Hector
Hector

Wyatt's an unfortunate name for an asshole.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

LOL, I was waiting for someone to notice that. In Vietnamese the "D" is pronounced with a "Z" and it's a common first name.

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Thanks, Ruthie! Excited to be here!

Wyatt
Wyatt

Really? Why is that? And while you're at it, how, exactly, does that comment make me an asshole?

I'm not trying to be a dick. Thanks to Mai for clearing the name thing up. Nevertheless, most non-Vietnamese people are doing to pronounce it "dung." You know, like the synonym for shit, Hector. I would classify that as unfortunate for the ownership, seeing as they're trying to draw non-Vietnamese to the restaurant.

Bruce R
Bruce R

Wyatt, I also fail to see why Hector used the heavy artillery so quickly. Apparently you struck a nerve. Maybe Hector has a last name that doesn't translate well and he's become hypersensitive. I know it's anachronistic, but maybe his full name is Hector Lipshitz or something like that.

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