Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Phở at Asia Palace in Salt Lake City

Woke up to more fresh snow today (again!) in Park City. I always crave Phở, the famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup, particularly on cold days. So far, I've had my best bowl of Utah Phở in Salt Lake and I CAN'T stop thinking about it. I rushed my kids off to school composing a mental list of errands in geographical order stemming from the location of: Asia Palace noodle house at 3500 South and Redwood Rd. Dying for Phở! 
Asia Palace's Phở is SO DELICIOUS and satisfying I never order anything else (always plan to, but always forget). Lacking the date-atmosphere appeal completely, it is the perfect reclusive lunch venue where you can mind your own business surfing and texting next to a 55" LED on the back wall playing Vietnamese music videos. I just like to slum it in peace sometimes. 
Their condiment set-up per table is equipped to handle ANY palate: soy sauce, hot chili oil, vinegar, chili paste, Sriracha, hoisin sauce (the old-school ketchup squeezer), salt.
I order a Ph Tai Nam. I ask for the Tai be served on a separate plate, NOT added to the soup in the back by the chef (in which case it will arrive well-done). I also order hot tea and a Vietnamese coffee. 
My bowl of Phở arrives still barely boiling - with rice noodles (done to perfect chewiness, not soggy), bite size well-done brisket, coarsely chopped cilantro, scallions and red onion. Ahh, inhale the brothiness of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lime. The standard plate of fresh garnishes arrive along with my plate of raw sliced beef.
Most Vietnamese restaurants catering to a more American clientele always skimp on culantro leaves, long saw-leaf aromatic herbs similar to cilantro but entirely different. Here at Asia Palace, we get a generous garnish plate overflowing with culantro, Thai basil, jalapenos, lime wedges and bean sprouts.
I throw almost everything in - pluck the basil leaves, tear the culantro, squeeze all the lime, grab a handful of sprouts and a couple jalapenos. Squeeze some hoisin sauce and sriracha into a side dipping dish.
Okay, now the raw meat dish. SQUEEZE - briefly marinate the meat with lime juice and shake some pepper to it. Let it sit and go back to the bowl of soup. Toss, toss, toss, deliberately trying to cool the broth so that when the meat is added, fondue-style, it doesn't overcook. I like my meat rare to medium-rare.
Add a glop of hoisin to each bite. Okay, can you taste it?! YUM, heaven. 
Best soup on earth! Too full with no room to finish the rich delicious broth:( Satisfied and happily full, I spend a productive day on SLC errands, making it back to pick kids up from school.
See what I mean by the majestic sweeping landscapes?! (back in Park City)

Asia Palace
1774 W 3500 S
Salt Lake City, 84119
Open Mon-Thur 9am-9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-9:30pm
Asia Palace on Urbanspoon


  1. I came here tonight after reading your review a couple nights ago and THANK YOU. My new favorite SLC pho place. And the beef on the side made all the difference.

  2. Been eating pho at the State Street location 2-3 times a week for 6 months. So addictive.