East County Times Dining Guide

The Spring Rolls were expertly crafted and totally unique to Vietnamese culture. The paper thin rice wrapping allowed for each individual ingredient to shine..

The Yummi Pho provides some familiar tastes mixed with some strange. However, they all work together to provide an eating experience you won't soon forget!



Dining Out at: Yummi Pho
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Article & photos by Patrick Taylor

When it comes to Asian cuisine, the Chinese are the most heavily represented culture in America. In most areas, if you're in the mood for some delicious noodles or rolls, you can usually find about five different places that deliver, and five that don't. But, while Chinese food can be quite delicious, it has become a little mundane. Also, from a health standpoint, Chinese food isn't exactly the greatest thing for you. So what are you to do if you're craving Oriental cuisine but want to mix it up? Well, you could always head over to Yummi Pho, a new Vietnamese restaurant, located in the Middlesex Shopping Center in Essex, that recently opened its doors. "Nowadays, people are trying to eat a lot healthier," said Valeria Tran, co-owner of Yummi Pho. "We offer that healthy alternative. There's no MSG in our food and it's not really greasy." Recently, Vietnamese restaurants have done well in America, although few have sprung up in the Baltimore area. You can find Vietnamese food in Columbia and Silver Spring, and you can find a place or two in Towson. Yummi Pho is trying to bring the appeal to the east side of Baltimore County, and they certainly have a great shot at doing so. When I went to review their dishes, I was a little worried. After all, you need to be willing to try different things when you're doing food reviews, and the Vietnamese certainly know how to...intimidate people with their cooking. However, after my first bite, I found myself in love with the food being sent out by Hoang Tran, Valerie's husband and co-owner. For beginners, they have absolutely delicious Cha Gio, which is a Vietnamese egg roll, served with fish sauce (which was surprisingly not fishy whatsoever). If you want to try something a little different though, their Goi Cuon (spring roll) was superb. I was taken aback by the freshness of the ingredients, as well as the peanut dipping sauce that came with it. From there I tried the Cha Tom, which was marinated shrimp rolled around a sugar cane and fried. This instantly became one of my favorites. The taste erupted as soon as I bit down, and the shrimp was cooked to perfection. I could talk about the delicious fried rice or any number of dishes to no end. But if you really want a treat at Yummi Pho, you need to go with an order of , you guessed it, Yummi Pho. The Yummi Pho is a special combination soup made with a combination of brisket, steak, flank tendon and tripe. I was blown away at the wide range of tastes and textures I felt during this meal, but it comes as no surprise. "It takes nine hours to cook up a pot of Pho," Valerie said. "That's where you get the quality. It's in the sweetness of the bone." Valerie and Hoang are in a great position to make a name for Yummi Pho. They're honest, personable people who simply want to spread their love of Vietnamese food. And after trying dishes like the Pho Tom and Crab Soup, it's a love that I think will spread pretty fast. Yummi Pho is a BYOB restaurant, and it's open everyday except Monday, from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday). Happy hour runs from noon - 5 p.m., which gives 10 percent off to the customer. If you would like to try Yummi Pho, they will have a stand at Essex Day. "We'll have a stand set up for Essex Day where we'll be giving out basic food samples for everyone to try," said Hoang. "It's important for us to get feedback." So far the feedback has been quite good, although they hope it picks up. "Vietnamese food is a good hangover cure," said Hoang with a laugh. "It's also good for diabetics and those losing weight." Simply put - it's just plain good.

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