Winter is concluding and, with the official first day of Spring only a week away, plus it being National “Eat Your Noodles” Day and all, we decided we were going to take a moment to relax and indulge in all that is Vietnamese Cuisine. From noodle soups in a rich broth, to spicy Pad Thai and Spring Rolls, we had a range of short term foodie goals in mind, originating from the royal city of Huế in Central Vietnam.
A sister restaurant of Le Lai McAllen, we made the trek to Sharyland after traffic hour to Pho Le Lai. Found in a tiny plaza on the corner of Shary Road and 495, nestled between a Little Caesar’s and Just a Cut, we walked into a cozy place where they definitely know your name. The next couple of guests that arrived were welcomed with a, “Can I get you the same?” We sat ourselves down and, as is customary for us, we scanned the appetizers (our favorite portion of just about every menu) and quickly decided on the Vietnamese Fried Shrimp (shrimp atop a sliced carrot and tempura breaded) and an order of Fried Vietnamese Egg Rolls (six per order).
While the a hot-and-ready pizza from next door seemed the fastest cure to end our Hangry-ness, the appetizers were well worth the wait!
Trisha: Dang! This shrimp is freaking delicious.
Gaby: How you like my lettuce-wrapped egg roll?
Trisha: Lovely concoction, dear. lol
For an extra umph to your Vietnamese Egg Rolls, make sure to wrap them up in the lettuce leaves that come with your dish. Don’t be afraid to sprinkle the cilantro, cucumbers and grated carrots on the side so that you can cover your veggie intake for the day. Before you take a bite, make sure to dip your lettuce-wrapped egg roll in their famous fish sauce, to really hit the spot!
Inevitably, we had to go for the traditional Pho Chicken. Pho is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat. It is a popular street food in Vietnam. We also ordered some Pad Thai (rice noodle with curry spice mixed with bell peppers, onions, bean sprouts, topped with peanut and cilantro, plus your choice of chicken, pork, tofu, shrimp or combination). Our group of four decided on some more chicken for our Pad Thai and went with extra veggies for our Lo Mein (stir fry with mix of onions, bean sprouts and carrots with your choice of chicken, pork, vegetables, tofu, shrimp or a combination). Word of caution; these dishes are huge! You will definitely have leftovers for lunch the following day, if your order too much. Such was the case with our Pad Thai and Lo Mein. We wouldn’t know anything about the Pho because one of our sidekicks slowly crouched herself into a tiny ball and didn’t make a sound as she enjoyed her steamy broth. wink
Insider Tip: BYOB is alive and well at Pho Le Lai! They do not serve alcoholic beverages, but dine-in guests are welcomed to bring in their own to complement their meals.
Pho Le Lai is located at 2307 E Griffin Pkwy, Mission, TX 78572. Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Pho Le Lai is currently closed on Sundays. For more information, you can call them at (956) 585-0800 or follow them on their social media platforms @pholelai2014.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at email@example.com.