Quang vs. Jasmine Deli: Pho Fight

Categories: Food Fight
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Joshua Rappeneker
Vietnamese pho

Sadly, traditional dishes with working-class origins often mutate into pretty, convenient, much less soulful mass-market versions. Beef stroganoff becomes Hamburger Helper, calzones become P'zones, and Greek yogurt becomes fat-free Yoplait, "packed with protein" in its little pouch like face cream-colored C-4. Fortunately, a few favorites resist this trend because of their low cost, complicated recipes, and similarities to a current product. Vietnamese pho, pronounced "fuh" (unless you're Kyle Kinane), is just such a delight. Minneapolis-St. Paul is lucky to have a plethora of options to choose from.

See also:
Maria's vs. Victor's: Clash of the corn cakes

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Amy Dahlin
Quang Restaurant

The Venue: This week's battle pits the chicken pho from Quang Restaurant against the pho ga of Jasmine Deli. Here in Minnesota we have weather that allows us to truly appreciate a hot bowl of sriracha-laced meaty goodness: Winter is coming, and we must be prepared.

The Weigh-in: Located less than three blocks away from each other on Nicollet Avenue, both family-owned restaurants strive for traditional flavors. However, one restaurant, Quang, could double as a large corporate commissary, and the other, Jasmine, a crawlspace where you keep your cross-country skis. Quang has had a fresh coat of paint and sports real orchids in the windows. Jasmine Deli has an upscale sibling around the corner called Jasmine 26, which is more comparable to Quang in size and a step up in decor. But the original Jasmine feels as cozy as a dorm room, with friendly servers who could pass as incoming freshmen.

Round 1 -- The Broth:
Quang's chicken broth has an unctuous richness that seems like the result of several days' simmering. The fresh cilantro and Thai basil that accompany the dish (along with crisp bean sprouts and lime) offer a nice floral balance to the meaty broth. Jasmine's broth is much lighter and cleaner, but as a result the flavors are less developed and complex. It's a satisfying soup nonetheless.


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27 comments
boredddumb
boredddumb

you do realize that pho is traditionally beef, right? Like chicken's a thing, but if you're going to be judging the pho, you should probably be checking out one of the many variations of beef broth pho. Just a note

vinotintojoe
vinotintojoe

This article is about figuring out which place has the better pho. Why do you bring up the bahn mi as part of your argument?

Mike Underhill
Mike Underhill

I'm going to have to go with Vietnam Star Restaurant. Probably my favorite broth, freshest basil, best cuts of beef.

Karissah Christmas
Karissah Christmas

Oh, and your cover story is a piece of crap ripped off from way funnier Matt Groening comics that are 29 years old.

Fred Lemon-Blossom
Fred Lemon-Blossom

Near sun foods. The marrow reduction is quite complex and really balances the quite present tones of star anise, which at some pho shops is practically non existant. But in terms of what you get for your money(ie meat &or veggie to noodle ratio) phi's pho at pho quan fucks all of them up six ways from Sunday. Not even a contest in the value and quality department

jamesd390
jamesd390

Spending time at the pool working on it's breast stroke? Really? I wish that you would have reviewed the beef pho. Even better than the chicken at both places.

Frank Neubecker
Frank Neubecker

This article is lacking. The choice of dishes was very poor.

Kurt Knutson
Kurt Knutson

Thumbs down on this comparison altogether.

Agnes Xiong
Agnes Xiong

The best pho is when YOUR mom make it!

Bernard Williams
Bernard Williams

Personally I think other places have better Pho then both of them. But I'm smart enough to keep those gems to myself...

Trish Gavin
Trish Gavin

1. Pho ga is not true pho. 2.You're holding up a restaurant known for their noodle salads (Jasmine) up against a "pho" restaurant (who's pho has been super greasy every.single.time.) c) what about "meat sweats" is alluring?

Josh Watters
Josh Watters

Pho 79 is the BEST pho restaurant in the cities

Karissah Christmas
Karissah Christmas

Neither one of these is a venue known for great Pho or Banh Mi, And why would you choose chicken pho as the litmus? Everyone knows Chicken pho is kept around for scared white people to order and the flank/random organ special is what every restaurant does best or should. Best banh mi in Minneapolis (IMHO) is Lotus to go-go, for pho go Pho 79. City Pages is a fail machine.

MJ Lexvold
MJ Lexvold

La Belle Crepe. Best pho there is. Double meatball with a splash of sriracha ftw.

aromanfaulkner
aromanfaulkner

pshhh. Pho Tau Bay, just past 28th and Nicollet. Better than these two clowns combined. 

dlsith23
dlsith23

One time I was too late for Quang so tried Jasmine 26.  Big mistake.  Didn't even compare.  

jpinmn
jpinmn

I never got Minneapolitans obsession with Quang's, the Denny's of Asian food, on Eat Street. the food is mediocre and the service ranges from indifferent to inept. The last time I was there, I was with a friend who had an allergy (like get the epi pen, because my throat is closing type allergy.) She specifically asked if a dish had an ingredient, stating she was allergic to it. The server said no, it did not have the ingredient. The dish is served and it is covered in the ingredient. She tells him she can't eat it, he then asks the table of four if anyone wanted to buy her dish, because the kitchen will make him take the amount out of his pay. We are all confused and ask why he didn't just let her know it had the ingredient, because it wasn't on the menu listing. He replies that he figured she said she was allergic because she's picky and didn't like the taste.

Every time I've been there, the food is unremarkable at best. I'm not saying it's poor quality, but mostly it's boring. There are many other (even on eat street) smaller places with better food.

WKaplan
WKaplan

@jplarson This might just be me but I can't take you seriously when you call it "Quang's." 

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