There’s just too much good food in Honolulu. Hell, the food is pretty great all over the Island. Sure, there are places that don’t hold up to the normal standard that you’d expect of the best Oahu restaurants but they are few in far between. As a matter of fact, a “foodie” friend of mine tends to judge local restaurants pretty tough. The other day I mentioned to her that everywhere we eat is mostly good food and that perhaps there are so many good restaurants on the island that she is actually getting really good food everywhere and that just some are better than others.
She disagreed. It happens. Women tend to disagree with me. Ah, well.
A Little Bit About Pho
There is an awesome article about the history of pho and, basically, everything you need to know about pho in this article from Loving Pho. Read that article and you’ll know everything that you ever wanted (and a lot more that you didn’t care to) know about pho.
Just some basics from me, though:
Pronunciation: People always get confused and mispronounce the word. In many cases, like my own, I love to play on the word to make it fit any type of fun that I’m having.
Examples: “Pho sho” translation- “For sure…” (Sorry, just in case you weren’t following.) Or, in the case of the name of one of my favorite restaurants on Oahu, “Pho King”. You can work that one out on your own…just know that I own the t-shirt, too!
Watch the video below to truly know how to pronounce pho.
What Pho Is (simple explanation): Pho is a Vietnamese noodle dish that is served in a beef or chicken based broth. There are some seafood pho dishes that kind of muddle the flavor a bit and those aren’t my favorites. The noodles are thin and velvety. The broth (when done right) is light and flavorful. The dish is served with chicken or various beef products (thinly sliced meats, meatballs, ox tail, marrow filled bones). It is also traditionally served with a side plate or fresh basil leaves, sliced jalapeno, lemon, and sprouts to add to the soup and your liking.
Best Pho on Oahu
In the case of the “best Pho on Oahu” (notice I said “on Oahu” and NOT Honolulu…the Island is so much more than the Big H), I’m not going to be telling you why these are the best pho restaurants with the best pho that I’ve had on the Island. Everyone is different. Every pho dish is different. Some of the ones below you’ll love, some you’ll hate…others you’ll just think are so-so. Just know that these are my favorites. Some didn’t make the list that are on other lists, and some on my list are not on others. Try these out though and let me know what you think later on.
590 Farrington Hwy, Kapolei, HI 96707
Note: My favorite on the Island. Friendly service that will know what you want as soon as you want once you’ve gone there a few times.
Address: 98-020 Kamehameha Hwy, Aiea, Hi, 96707
Note: A recent discovery of mine that I really like. Slightly sweeter broth and quality meats.
Address: 823 California Ave, Wahiawa, HI 96786
Note: Fun place…great brand with great pho. Busy at times.
Address: 1617 Kapiolani Blvd, Honolulu, HI, 96814
Note: Next to Ala Moana shopping center so a great place to eat before, during or after shopping.
Cuu Long Vietnamese Restaurant
Address: 98-199 Kamehameha Hwy, B7, Aiea, HI, 96701
Note: The BUSIEST pho spot I’ve been to. Sometimes you’re waiting outside for a seat…this makes service rather curt but still professional. Good summer rolls, too!
Address: 1518 Makaloa St., Honolulu, HI, 96814
Note: Not known for pho, I don’t think, but it’s good stuff all the same. Right next to the Jiffy Lube so a great place to eat when you’re waiting on your car to an oil change or other service.
Pho To-Chau Vietnamese Restaurant
Address: 1007 River St, Honolulu, HI, 96817
Note: Considered one of the best pho places on Oahu for a reason. It’s really, really good. If you have time and don’t mind waiting then go to Pho To Chau. Overall, perhaps the best broth on Oahu.
Pho Viet Inc
Address: 99-161 Moanalua Rd, Aiea, HI, 96701
Note: Tiny, not well known best pho place on Oahu. Clean, tasty broth. Friendly service.
Hale Vietnamese Restaurant
Address: 1140 12th Ave, Honolulu, HI, 96816
Note: Good traditional flavorful pho. Little bit of a cinnamon kick that you don’t get in many places but it makes it unique. Broth is good and clean.
Pho Old Saigon
Address: 2270 Kuhio Ave #1, Honolulu, HI 96815
Note: Touristy and busy. Also, since it’s in Waikiki it is a lot pricier than other pho spots on Oahu. That being said, it’s quality soup if you find yourself in Waikiki and there are plenty of other things to do in the area.