Food Review: Pho Vietnam in Fort Smith Has a Banh Mi for the Win!!!

Coming home from a long vacation out West, where not even one banh mi could be found, I was determined to get one before the vacation was over. Fort Smith happens to have plenty of different Asian restaurants to choose from. So, based on online reviews, I chose to try Pho Vietnam. While it wasn’t perfect, their banh mi was!



Set in an old gas station, this place is no 5 Star restaurant.
The outside reflected exactly what we would see on the inside.
With plenty of tables came plenty of unorganized junk lying around. To be fair, they only have one big open room with the kitchen having its own tiny space. So, all those extra chairs, dishes, glasses,  toaster ovens and nautical decor has to go somewhere, right?
But I never judge a book by its cover- some of the best food I’ve had have been in holes-in-a-wall.



The menu is lengthy!  (Too lengthy to post photos of each page)
Full of Thai teas and smoothies, egg rolls, spring rolls, chow mein options, lo mein options, banh mi options, rice dishes, noodle dishes, fried rice options, vermicelli bowls, pho options, and many “Vietnamese Specialties” including rice flour crepes.



Tea- Free

Immediately upon sitting, we were given menus and complimentary hot tea!
You know I’m a sucker for freebies, but this tea was very delicious! It needed no sweeteners with its almost floral flavor.

Saigon Spring Rolls- $7.95

Ok, these were NOT the Saigon spring rolls, which should have jicama, carrots, lettuce, basil, sausage, eggs, shrimp, and peanuts.
Rather, we were given the regular rolls. I knew by looking at them they were wrong, but gave them one bite to see if they could be enjoyed anyway.
They couldn’t. These were honestly the worst, driest, blandest spring rolls I’ve ever tasted. I sent them back and was told the Saigon ones were not available. I wish I was told that when I ordered them?
*These were taken off our ticket with no issues.

Saigon Beef Salad- $7.95

How do I judge a new restaurant? By its beef salad and banh mis. This beef salad was cheap and beautiful. The beef was flavorful and cooked just right. The rest was extremely bland. It didn’t have the same “zing” in the dressing as I am used to in a Thai beef salad. Clearly, Thai and Vietnamese dressings are not the same.

Banh Mis- $3.95

We tried two different kinds, the Barbeque Pork and the Paris Style.
The Paris Style had eggs with “sausage” and lettuce, plus all the normal additions- pickled veggies, jalapeños, cilantro. However, the large amount of onion was something I’d never experienced on a banh mi before. It was very tasty and different than any banh mi I had tried before. The egg was a nice texture addition and the “sausage” was just bacon. Though it still had the sweetness and spiciness and vinegar flavors you typically get in a banh mi.

However, the star of the show was the BBQ pork. In the perfectly soft, yet toasty bread (ok, the other banh mi had perfect bread, too) there was a ton of ridiculously juicy, flavorful pork. Juices were not dripping, but spilling out of this sandwich. Yes, it was messy, but it was to die for. And $4!!!! And it was anything but small. This is officially my favorite banh mi!

Mystery Dessert- Free

After our meal was done, we were brought small bowls of….well, I’m not so sure. Banana tapioca pudding with peanuts? I am not a huge fan of tapioca. However, this warm pudding was delicious! There was a great banana flavor without the texture of banana. I gobbled it up!



I would eat here again just for the free tea and dessert. Otherwise, I’ll be getting banh mis (many bbq pork ones) to go. These are life.
***This restaurant is CASH ONLY.


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