Sunday, October 11, 2009

PK Noodles

To prepare for our impending voyage to Vietnam, we tried to go to the Saigon Bistro one Sunday but it wasn't open. Now, unfortunately, it's completely closed so don't have that experience to look forward to. We then tried to go somewhere else despite one member of our expedition suggesting PK Noodles due to some initial prejudices. What prejudices, you ask? Well, PK Noodles just sounds like the name of a chain and, although I'm not opposed to chains, I just prefer to seek out the smaller, unknown restaurants with the hopes of uncovering some sort of hidden treasure.

So PK Noodle sounds like a chain. It is not. It also, based solely on the name, sounds rather boring. Again, it is not.

The full name is actually Pho King Noodles and if this had been made clear to me when I'd first heard of the place a couple months back then I'd have rushed over immediately. Screw the acronym, this could pull crowds.

pho king spicy chicken

But there was a crowd there anyway so apparently they don't need to rely on the awesome name to bring in business. Lot's of young people, perhaps due to its proximity to FCCJ, or perhaps because they're immature like me and can't pass up the opportunity to eat at a place called Pho King Noodles. Maybe it's neither. Maybe the reason that there were so many people there was, as I soon discovered, that the food is really, really good (and really, really inexpensive).

pho king shrimp roll

For starters we shared a plate of the Whole Shrimp Egg Rolls. More like whole egg roll shrimps, these deliciously decadent starters are effectively one giant prawn encased in an egg roll shell. I could gladly eat far too many of these.

Having only experienced Vietnamese food at Pho Cali, I wanted to branch out a bit and try something different for my main course but the allure of Pho and the #30 (Chicken in chili pepper and lemongrass sauce, Pho Cali's #32) were quite strong. At one point I was set on ordering the House Special (baked egg, shredded skin, grilled pork, and fried eggs with rice) but ultimately, with one ordering that and the other two ordering the number #30, I made a hasty, last-second decision and went with the #32: well done beef and pork in a spicy soup.

pho king spicy beef and pork soup

Immediately regretted my order because I suspected it might be something akin to hot and sour soup which tastes like urine (at least that's what I imagine urine might taste like). However, my fears were put to rest after taking my first hesitant sip. Forking delicious. The soup itself was akin to a thinner but spicier Pho broth and both of the meats were really nice.

The house special did look good and the bites of the spicy chicken I snuck were rather tasty as well. But I was immensely satisfied with my impulsive decision and now will find it difficult to return and try something new. And return I will, particularly considering the food is not only delicious and of good quality, but the price is also rather meager for the great portions you get.

pho king house special

Whether you go for the food or just so you can tell your friends that you ate some Pho King Noodles for lunch, you won't be disappointed. Just don't go on Monday, they'll be closed. Check out their website for some more mouthwatering shots of their food if mine haven't been enough to convince you.

PK Noodles (Pho King Noodles)
11925 Beach Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32246
(904) 646-0707

Tue-Sat 11am-9pm
Sun 11am-8pm

P. K. Noodles on Urbanspoon


Travis said...

PK Noodles is indeed awesome. We go there at least once a week, the barbecue pork spring rolls are like little bundles of crack.

Great suggestion on the soup. I usually have the pho or one of the meat and rice dishes, to be honest I hadn't even seen the spicy soup on the menu so I got it and it's amazing. By the time I hit the bottom of the bowl I was taking in all the hot bits left and I don't think I've ever breathed as clearly. I couldn't feel anything below my eyes though.

One quick question though, you mention Saigon Cafe, where was that? I thought you meant Saigon Time over on Cassat but it's still open. I think I'm going to go try them out some time this week.

01001111 said...

My mistake, I actually meant the Saigon Bistro. It was on St. Johns Bluff near Beach Boulevard. Quite good, from what I've read, but a bit pricey.

There's another Vietnamese place on Old Baymeadows that just opened up called Bowl of Pho. I plan to hit that up soon as the Vietnam trip is less than a month away. Let me know how you like Saigon Time.

Andrew Travis Pantazi said...

I go to FSCJ, so I frequent PK Noodles. When you go, if you are particularly adventurous, then you should try their exotic beverages. Their drinks will definitely take you outside of the American comfort zone.

Also, their subs, which cost about $3.50 each, are absolutely fantastic.