Cape Fear Foodie: Are You a Real Pho?

WILmington, NC (WECT) – After plans were made to try an under-the-radar Asian restaurant, a handwritten “Kitchen Closed Today” sign hung on the door. To say it was a problem, would be an understatement, but given the options around town, it didn’t take long to find an alternative. So after a few years my friend and I took a quick trip to Fu Basil. Given the summer heat and humidity that makes the air look like soup…it might seem strange to eat a hot bowl of…soup. But that’s exactly what we did, and we loved every second of it.

Many cultures thrive on eating hot foods, especially during the hot summer months. It doesn’t count on our ice cream-hungry brains, but eating hot foods, like a bowl of faux pas, can stimulate your brain to cool down your body. Admittedly, the science of all of that wasn’t factored into our decision to come here, but the food definitely did.

menu in Fu Basil Not quite comprehensive, but that’s okay, all the basics neatly covered. The restaurant is small, but there were 10-12 people inside who had the same idea as us, and ate some of the best Vietnamese food.

An assortment of spring rolls with shrimp, pork, and pork skins are the perfect light appetizer to start (the spicy fish sauce and peanut sauce are delicious, too).(WECT)

We started with shrimp spring roll and pork skin roll, served with peanut sauce and fish sauce. Both are full of freshness and a welcome bonus to get you started.

Is this sandwich style the best?  it's close.  Small Fresh Baked Vegetable Pack...
Is this sandwich style the best? it’s close. Vegetables pack a fresh mini baguette, and fried tofu takes it on top.(WECT)

Next was a beautifully simple Banh mi sandwich. The perfect portable sandwich with fresh mini baguettes, thin slices of carrot, daikon, jalapeno, cilantro, and fried tofu. Yes, fried tofu. You can have chicken, beef, or pork, but the fried tofu is just as light and crunchy. I could have gotten away with three of those without any problem had I not ordered a huge bowl of pho as well.

Speaking of pho, we decided to try a few different soups, “Wonton Egg Noodle Soup” and “Vietnamese Spicy and Spicy Beef Soup.” The first is a light but delicious chicken broth soup with meat dumplings stuffed with pork and pork chops with egg noodles and filled with fried white and green onions. Your brain thinks it’s delicious chicken noodle soup but the meat pies and pork add a different element.

Delicious chicken broth is full of flavour, like pork patties, pork chops, eggs...
Delicious chicken broth is full of flavour, as pork wontons, pork chops and egg noodles swim in a bowl filled with a variety of onions and fresh vegetables.

“Vietnamese Hot and Spicy Beef Noodle Soup” is a beef-based broth with slices of beef breast and pork roll, with noodles, white and green onions. Of course a pile of fresh veggies and herbs are served to complete the show (basil, cilantro, cabbage, bean sprouts, and jalapenos). I love hot, spicy dishes, so I also tossed in some chili oil as a good measure.

Spicy beef-based broth with slices of pork brisket roll, with pasta, and white...
Spicy beef-based broth with strips of bacon wraps, topped with pasta, white and green onions, then topped with fresh greens and it’s a bowl of heaven (and heat).(WECT)

There’s just something so satisfying about smothering a broth that’s been blending flavors for hours, the taste of juicy meat with the crunch of fresh vegetables. It is almost enough to forget that the temperature outside is more than about 90 degrees.

So don’t be shy about your favorite pho restaurant (everyone seems to have a preference), I’ve checked out one of the popular pho spots in Wilmington here. Another great thing about pho restaurants is that they are often quite affordable. Our entire meal after tipping was $44, plus we each had a full meal to take home. That’s a big win at the moment.

Fu Basil It also contains items for a variety of tastes. With a range of appetizers, salads, pasta, fried rice dishes and boba tea on the menu. But something tells me that you won’t be able to resist once you see the person next to you digging, it’s too good to miss, no matter the weather.

if you go:

Pho Basil is located at 812 South College Road, Wilmington 28403

Would you recommend a restaurant? Or find out the best-kept secrets you want the rest of Cape Fear to know? Vote for me at [email protected] I would like to introduce your choice. cheers!

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