Located a few blocks away from the Beaubourg Museum, Au Bon Pho restaurant serves authentic and delicious food. The pho (7,50 €) is served with beef and tripe (as is traditional) and while the Asian customers will have it that way, the owner knows that most French people would prefer their soup without tripe and it is perfectly fine to ask for your pho without it. As for the bun bo (7,50 €), never before have I had such a generous portion of meat, and the perfectly cooked vermicelli was particularly enjoyable. Since papaya salad was on the menu we had to order it and it was better than expected: we asked for “really spicy” and that’s what we got, not the toned-down spicy-for-the-French. It also had plenty of that great strong fishy sauce, the kinda-good, kinda-bad fish sauce that Asian people love but westerners tend to frown at in large amounts. At Au Bon Pho restaurant, the cooks are dressed up in lab coats and hairnets, the walls are pink, the Asian customers are rowdy—it’s a lively place. The owner, a charming and talkative Laotian man who’s been living in France for the past 30 years, takes great care of his customers while still figuring out how to manage the growing number of patrons. Au Bon Pho opened in early March 2009, and serves all day seven days a week. For now.
Au Bon Pho
22 Rue au Maire
Metro: Arts et Metiers
You will know when you stand in line at the door of Le Cambodge restaurant in Paris that you are in for a treat. No matter what night of the week, people start lining up as early as half an hour before Le Cambodge opens its doors (the fact that the restaurant doesn’t take reservations might also have something to do with it.) If you want to dine at 8pm get there early, otherwise come for the second or third sitting. Le Cambodge restaurant serves good food in a friendly atmosphere: you will be given a piece of paper to write down your order and you can be as goofy as you want with it. They will actually post their favorite orders/scribbles on their website and put it up on their walls. The most frequently ordered dishes are the bun bo special (10,50 €), ban hoy (13 €) and spring rolls (8,50 €). Vegetarians will find enough dishes on the menu to satiate their hunger, and customers can fill up their stomachs without emptying their wallets. For those who want their food to go, they will be called when the food is ready. Time can vary between 10 to 60 minutes depending on how busy Le Cambodge restaurant is. Along with Pink Flamingo pizza, Le Cambodge is a good address to have if you are planning on eating along the canal Saint Martin.
10 Avenue Richerand
M-Sat: 12pm-2.30pm / 8pm-11.30pm
Closed on Sunday
One summer, a few years back, we went to Song Heng restaurant for some Pho but the place was closed for the whole month (August in France…) We gave it another shot this week, and even though we thought we might arrive too late for lunch (it was 3.30pm) we got there half an hour before it closed. It’s a very small place with an even smaller menu: 3 tables of 6, 1 table of 4 and 2 dishes to choose from (Pho and Bun bo). When you walk in they sit you wherever there’s a seat left: you fill in the space. It’s like a human scale video game with the host placing its pawns as they walk in. And it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the person sitting in front of you, next to you and kitty corner from you because it’s France and you don’t have to make conversation. Depending on the angle you look at it, it might work for you or not. It’s non-vegetarian but you can order the Bun bo meatless “pour le même prix”, that is for the same price.
3 Rue Volta
Closed on Sunday and in August