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March 11th, 2009 12:00 am Ethan Smith | Food Reviews & Stories

Cheap Eats 2009


The original outpost of the Pho Van empire (which boasts two other locations, a signature line of sauces and a higher-priced Pearl District sister shop) occupies a grim corner of Southeast 82nd Avenue, Portland’s main artery of all things Asian-—live lingerie modeling and used Trans Ams aside. The noon hour is crowded, thanks in part to a $5 pho lunch special. A salad of seared beef tossed with daikon radish, celery, carrots, peanuts and fried shallots is dressed lightly in a tangy sweet dressing ($7). In one vermicelli bowl ($8.75), skewers of grilled honey-lemongrass pork recline atop a nest of fine rice noodles piled with cucumber, lettuce, peanuts, pickled carrots and daikon, served with pork-and-shrimp spring rolls. (ES)

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