A small Vietnamese noodle shop, Pho Kauai has become a staple restaurant in the town of Lihue on Kauai. This is a must-go for whenever you find yourself in the area needing something hot and delicious.
Despite being well known across the islands, Pho Kauai still has a reputation for being something of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. That’s because while it isn’t an island secret, this family-run restaurant doesn’t go out of its way to make itself known. You’ll find it nestled between two other businesses in a small strip mall off of Rice St. This noodle shop has a bright red and green-lettered sign featuring a steaming bowl of noodles. This, combined with the full windows and bright interior helps create an inviting atmosphere.
When you walk in, you will either be waved towards a seat or expected to find one on your own. The menu here is extensive and the meat and protein choices can feel overwhelming for those not familiar with Pho. As such, especially if you plan to go during lunch and dinner hours, consider first perusing the menu online before going. The waitstaff here is wonderful, especially when you become a regular, but they are fast and Pho Kauai gets really busy during peak lunch and dinner hours. Especially during the weekday lunches as this is many locals’ go-to mid-day spot.
But what to order? Well, the obvious answer begins with three letters: Pho. Pho, at its heart, is a type of Vietnamese soup that generally consists of a bone broth, some type of noodles (usually rice-based noodles), a type of meat, spices, and often some vegetables. Pho Kauai is a family-owned Vietnamese restaurant that makes the robust broth that is at the heart of every Pho dish every day. The noodles are also made fresh daily.
In addition to their primary Pho dishes, Pho Kauai has quite the versified menu. You can also order pad Thai, salads, stir-fried spring rolls, and an array of fried rice combos. You might also try one of the house specials. For example, there is the Vietnamese fried rice egg that is served with shrimp and chicken as a base and peas and other desired veggies diced in. Altogether, that’s a delicious and filling meal for under $10
Of course, that’s just one of many outstanding dishes offered at Pho Kauai. Other great food selections include:
#18 Rare Steak & Brisket – Pho Tai Nam
This is often a visitor favorite and a good choice for those who want something with substance. The rare steak and brisket are taken from quality meat cuts and the dish comes served with bean sprouts, basil, hot green petter, and lime for an outstanding price of $7.95
#35 Vermicelli Grilled Pork & Egg Rolls – Buin Thit Nudng Cha Gio
Vermicelli bowls leave out the broth and substitute them for long, thin noodles that are generally served chilled, making for an ideal choice on hot summer days. This menu item at Pho Kauai also adds to those noodles succulent grilled pork atop a salad with bean sprouts. You also get egg rolls as a bonus side.
#57 Chicken with Lemongrass in Spicy Sauce – Gom Ga Xao Xa Ot
This scrumptious basil-seasoned fried rice dish is filling and that spicy sauce that covers everything has just the right kick. The dish comes served with a choice of either Jasmine Rice or Brown Rice, but for a surcharge, you can swap out for Extra White Rice or Brown Rice.
-Not hungry but want to give this place a looksies? Check out their boba drinks! The boba or bubble milk drinks here they have are quite refreshing and a great choice after a day at the beaches (or just before).
-This place is a local’s hang-out and if you go here often enough, you will get to know the regulars and the servers will know your dish. That said, tourists to the islands might feel a little brushed off in contrast. We say relax, be patient, and enjoy the Pho! It’s worth it.