Karen, Timmy and Tan are the family and backbone behind Pho 919, the restaurant that has been churning out Vietnamese treats for the past year in Morrisville. Originally hailing from Denver, this family moved to open Pho 919 and spread the taste of Vietnamese cuisine throughout the triangle. Located in a former diner joint, Pho 919 hasn’t changed the interior, but their food speaks and stands for itself. Their menu offers many traditional Vietnamese items from pho (pronounced “fuh”) and noodle bowls to a few Americanized favorites including fried rice.
A great way to start off a meal is with Pho 919’s Vietnamese egg rolls (cha gio, $7.25 for 4). These crunchy treats are filled with pork, vermicelli noodles, and onions. Although cha gio traditionally include mushrooms and shredded carrots in the filling, these were delicious none the less.
Another refreshing appetizer can be found in their spring rolls with pork and shrimp (goi cuon, $4.25 for 2). The spring rolls have rice noodles, thinly sliced pork loin, poached shrimp, bean sprouts and shredded romaine lettuce encased in a soft rice paper wrapper. These rolls are traditionally served with a peanut dipping sauce, but Karen was more than accommodating of my allergy to swap this out for nuoc mam. Nuoc mam is a common Vietnamese sauce that’s made from fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chilies and garlic. This was the perfect condiment to dip the spring rolls into.
From pho pros to newbies, pho tai (rare steak with rice noodle, $8.95) is the standard pho to order. The base of the pho consisted of perfectly cooked rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, sliced white onion and sprinkled with chopped cilantro. The additional accoutrements of thai basil, bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos and lime wedges are perfect to customize your bowl of pho to your liking. If you’ve never had pho tai before, it may be shocking to see that the beef is still raw when it comes to your table. However, the soup broth is so hot that the meat cooks to a rare and tender doneness.
Most important to note is Pho 919’s broth. Their broth is rich in flavor but still remains clear, which is the sign of a great soup that’s been simmered and cooked properly so that it doesn’t cloud up. One such soup is the Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup ($10.95) Disclaimer: I did not eat the spicy chicken pho this time, but the dish looked so pretty I had to take a picture. I will definitely venture out of my usual pho tai order to try this next time.
I realize some people are not soup people, which is understandable. Pho 919 also offers a wide variety of rice plates that will satisfy this crowd. Their pork chop with steamed rice (com suon, $9.95) plate is the thing my childhood food memories are made from. The pork chop is marinated with lemongrass, which offers an herbaceous lemon flavor to the pork, and is served next to steamed rice, fresh veggies, nuoc mam and garnished with green onion oil. Pho 919’s take on this Vietnamese staple makes me think “winner, winner, pork chop dinner.”
As a self-described pho lover, I am extremely picky when it comes to judging a bowl of pho. Fortunately for me and other diners who have come to love Pho 919, they live up to their namesake by dishing up an incredible bowl of pho. Their other menu offerings are just as great, which lend well to anyone looking for a great overall Vietnamese restaurant. I’ve been a fan of Pho 919 from the beginning and I’m glad to say their standard of high quality Vietnamese faire has remained consistent while offering a warm sense of hospitality.
Address: 3504 Davis Dr, Morrisville, NC 27560
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @