Pho Hoa chicken pho

This is a simple post for a simple, lazy (Super Bowl) Sunday.  I did not plan anything elaborate for the event, nor did I eat anything the day before with a particularly football/American theme.  I ate a bowl of chicken pho at Pho Hoa, and thought about 7 layer dip, which is a pretty good combo if you ask me.

Pho Hoa exterior

Phoa Hoa restaurant is between Alexandra and Alderbridge, and part of a chain, though you wouldn’t necessarily think that upon seeing the place.  It’s decorated the way many pho restaurants in Richmond are: simply, and with some fake greenery.

Pho Hoa interior

Pho Hoa’s branding is based around being “the Health Conscious Choice,” and they don’t just go as far as telling you pho is light and healthy.  They actually list the number of calories of each of their dishes on the menu, which I am not used to.

Pho Hoa menu

They’ve divided their types of pho into three categories: The Low Calories (400-610), The Regulars (420-680), and The Adventurers (550-770), with the calories also listed for their rice dishes, vermicelli dishes, and Vietnamese beef stew.

Pho Hoa menu

I’m not much of a calorie counter, so seeing the exact caloric content of dishes I’ve consumed many times over the past 242 days was a little off-putting.  However, while it’s not really my thing, I understand why this could be a desirable option for many people, especially those on diets who still wish to eat out.

I ordered a small bowl of chicken pho with white meat, and a strawberry smoothie.  My servers were super-friendly and my meal arrived at the table quickly.

The pho broth was especially good.  There was a very generous amount of chicken, and I appreciated the choice of white or dark meat, because I always prefer white (at Thanksgiving, my plate is piled high with equal amounts of white turkey and cranberry sauce).

Pho Hoa

The one thing I didn’t like was the pile of noodles resting below the surface; they stuck together, and broke too easily when I tried to pull them apart.  They still tasted good, but were tricky to eat.

My strawberry smoothie was made with blended ice, fresh strawberries, and condensed milk.  It was sweeter than I expected it would be, and tasted kind of like a milkshake.  Maybe it’s not the most health conscious thing on the menu, but it was REALLY good.

Strawberry smoothie from Pho Hoa

Pho Hoa is a good place for a quick and inexpensive lunch, even if I am a little choked about knowing the calorie content of the Vietnamese beef stew.  That won’t stop me from ordering, however.  That wonderfully thick bowl o’gravy with white bread again is way too good.

Now, onto Super Bowl.  Super Bowl snacks to be specific.  I emailed some of my American friends and said “Other than 7 layer dip, what are your favourite game day eats?”   I was thinking 7-layer dip seemed too cliché, but after receiving three or four responses of “WHY NOT 7-Layer Dip?  That stuff is THE BEST!” I decided of course, 7-Layer Dip is the ideal snack to consume while waiting for SOMEONE to get the ball into the end zone.  So just in case you’ve never had the pleasure of consuming this wonder, here’s the recipe we made growing up.  It’s free range, it’s local, and it’s artisan.  And there’s no calories in it, I swear.

7 layer dip

7 Layer Dip
(serves 8 people, or 3 Anderson children)

Mix one can of re-fried beans with about a cup of salsa.  Spread on the bottom of a casserole dish.

Mix one medium-sized container of sour cream with about one cup of mayo (or Miracle Whip, and/or cream cheese), and a few tablespoons of taco seasoning.  Adjust to taste.  Spread over top of refried beans.

Mash up 2 or 3 ripe avocados, squeeze in some lemon juice, sprinkle in salt to taste, and mix with some shredded cheddar cheese.  Spread over sour cream layer.

Cover the guacamole layer with salsa, more shredded cheddar cheese, chopped tomato, green onions, and sliced black olives.  I always thought it was a little unfair to count the condiments as layers, but whether we call it 5 layer or 7, this stuff still tastes AWESOME.  Here’s a more specifically-portioned recipe if you’d prefer.

Go Steelers go.  Just kidding.


Pho Hoa

8500 Alexandra Road, Richmond BC


Cash and cards accepted

Vegetarian options available