Happiness in a Bowl at Pho Vin Long

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with thinly sliced beef or chicken, rice noodles, basil, lime or lemon, bean sprouts, and other ingredients. Pho is loved all over for being light and healthy yet full of flavor — it is one of celebrity chef and travel show host Anthony Bourdain’s favorite foods in the world.

For Charleston locals who crave the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese cooking, or for those who want to give this exotic cuisine a try, Pho Vin Long on D Street in South Charleston is a place worth visiting.

For starters, try their rice paper rolls — which are unlike any egg rolls you have tried at your favorite Chinese place. The rice paper wrappers have a lighter consistency, and are so flaky that they practically explode with flavor when you bit into them.

The filling consists of ground pork and shredded vegetables such as mushrooms, carrots, and onions. Dip them briefly in the hot and sour dipping sauce provided and your will have a taste sensation unlike any other.

For your entree, Vietnamese favorites such as beef and chicken pho are served piping hot, accompanied by a mound of fresh herbs and other condiments for the diner to add to their bowls of soup. The sliced beef practically melts in your mouth, while the chicken is a flavorful mix of both dark and white meat.

All the ingredients are fresh and cooked to perfection, and the broth is made using a family recipe. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, there are other options to try such as beef tendon — which bears a similar consistency and flavor to bone marrow (another prized Asian delicacy).

With entrees averaging at about USD 10, and a location just blocks away from the Ramada and Wingate hotels, Pho Vin Long will definitely get you hooked on Vietnamese.