Pho Ban Mai

It was a Friday night and Dennis and I were once again hungry! My coworker had mentioned Pho Ban Mai in Mira Mesa so I decided we should try it! It's in the same plaza as Rite Aid and a other few restaurants like Siam Nara (which I plan to visit for my Thai quest).

To start, we ordered the Nem Nuong Cuon (pork spring rolls). I think it is similar in style to the very popular ones from Brodards (in Orange County). Nem Noung Cuon is a little different from the regular spring rolls because they contain ground pork meat instead of the boiled shrimp and beef and there is a layer of fried shreds inside. After a bite, I thought that it was somewhat comparable except that this restaurant's fried layers were a bit oily. The pork meat itself was very scrumptious though. The dipping sauce was also very nice and chunky for the spring rolls and is a nice change to the fish sauce mix provided at other restaurants.

For our main dish, we ordered one Bo Luc Lac (vietnamese shaking beef), which is basically beef cubes in onions and peppers. This dish was so flavorful and tender with a great medium to medium rare cooked beef. I was cramming these things into my mouth so fast that I could hardly think to chew. The only downside was that when it was all gone, there was a huge puddle of oil at the bottom of the dish. And I mean, lots of it! You can already see the glossiness above. It also came with some yummy fried rice which was mainly rice and some egg and plain lettuce/carrots on a separate plate.

For our other main dish, we ordered the Spicy Lemongrass Tofu. The tofu was a medium firmness with a nice lemongrass overtone over the sweet chili brown sauce. It wasn't too spicy at all. What I liked best was that the sauce was minimal and didn't soak the noodles underneath. I didn't even need the fish sauce provided with the meal. Dennis would have preferred even less sauce than that but he liked it nevertheless. The salad with it was lightly sprinkled with a dressing that seemed to have a slight fish-sauce(?) presence which worked well with the noodles too. These two also happened to be our waiter's favorite dishes here and we can see why!

We don't eat Vietnamese food out that much since auntie and mother-in-law provides us the occasional home-cooked goodies but this place is definitely one that I'd think of when craving Vietnamese!

Pho Ban Mai
8991 Mira Mesa Blvd
San Diego CA 92126
(858) 271-7199

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Mary's picture
Submitted by Mary (not verified) on Fri, 01/24/2014 - 9:03am

Funny, I live near here and haven't been. I usually don't want to eat in Mira Mesa anymore haha - I always want to try things in other neighborhoods! It all looks excellent though so maybe I'll remember to check it out sometime. There's lots of good Vietnamese in the area and I'm always craving egg rolls and spring rolls. I haven't tried the pork version yet - I'll have to.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Fri, 01/24/2014 - 10:58am

That's how we feel a bit too. After 7 years living around here and always going farther for food, I'm glad that we have found a few places in the area that we do like! We still go to Pho Ca Dao or Pho Hoa Cali for the best pho though!

Faye's picture
Submitted by Faye (not verified) on Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:03am

Oh those spring rolls looks soooo yummy right now!!! Is this the place that's in same center as the Boiling Crab? I think I came to PBM some time ago and really liked their fried tofu appetizer and their friend shrimp paste (wrapped in tofu skin?). Oh man, now I feel like driving there for lunch b/c I'm so hungry! What did you think of the prices?

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Fri, 01/24/2014 - 4:08pm

Yea it's in the same plaza as Boiling Crab. At Pho Ban Mai, the spring rolls are approximately the same price as the ones from Brodards so in that aspect, this saves you the long drive! I think the prices are a little higher for Vietnamese food in the area but still reasonable.

Brian's picture
Submitted by Brian (not verified) on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:36am

Glad you checked out my suggestion, if you just want Pho then go to one of the other Pho places in Mira Mesa, but if you want non-pho Vietnamese food then this is an awesome place. They have several dishes that are hard to find elsewhere.

Another place worth checking out for a unique twist on Asian food is OB Noodle House, in OB. They are always packed so be prepared to wait to get in.

lynn's picture
Submitted by lynn on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 11:29am

We don't go out to OB much but we'll consider that restaurant if we're in the area!

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