Brier Creek has certainly exploded over the past 5 years; it has gone from a small little shopping center with surrounding apartments to a go-to shopping and hangout spot between Raleigh and Durham. One day after shopping for hours, my boyfriend and I worked up an appetite late in the evening. Of course there are plenty of pub style restaurants and a few eateries that offer ethnic cuisine, but we were looking for something quick, fresh, and affordable – which are three things that are hard to find in this area. We decided on Pho Xpress because we were starving at this point and wanted a quick and cheap bite to eat without the frills of a sit down restaurant. This spot is exactly that, no frills Vietnamese take-out at an affordable price. We opted for the chicken noodle bowl and the pork banh mi with a side of egg rolls.
Vietnamese food is quite rare in the Raleigh-Durham area, especially cheap Vietnamese food. Up north, Vietnamese restaurants are plentiful and offer great affordable food that you can pick up fast, which is why I was happily surprised to find this place in the midst of commercialized eateries. The Pork Banh Mi ($7.25) was served hot on a soft hoagie roll with cucumbers, carrots, and cilantro. If you are a banh mi connoisseur like myself, then you know the banh mi bun is the key to a great sandwich. The bun cannot have too much bread with too little filling or the other way around; it needs to also be soft with a light toasting. This banh mi was great at a good price when compared to other local Vietnamese eateries. The pork was cut thin and the vegetables were chopped so fine that it was easy to eat and added a necessary crunch to the sandwich, while the cilantro added a freshness that is customary when eating Vietnamese cuisine.
The chicken noodle bowl ($8.95), which is usually named Saigon Street Noodles at most sit down Vietnamese restaurants, was a very fresh and flavorful dish. The chicken was sliced thin and roasted with a peanut flavored dry rub that went very well with the fish sauce and broth. The noodles tied the meat and the broth flavoring together perfectly, which is the desired effect when using plain vermicelli noodles like these. Although the portion looked huge at first, the noodles do not weigh down the dish as heavily as classic Italian pasta noodles or Japanese ramen noodles. The Vermicelli noodles are nice and light, giving the dish’s flavor profile a platform because the noodles themselves are on the plainer side. The traditional broth that is served with this type of dish is already in the bottom of the dish, whereas most Vietnamese places give you a side of the broth to pour over on your own. Just keep this in mind so you know to mix it before digging in.
The egg rolls ($2.00) were crispy and thin, which was a perfect side to the noodle bowl. They were a traditional egg roll filled with cabbage and shredded carrots, and were cut up and put in the noodle bowl, which is how most restaurants serve the egg rolls when accompanied by a vermicelli dish.
Overall I really loved this place, it offers no frills Vietnamese food that’s affordable and delicious. I recommend this restaurant if you are shopping in Brier Creek and either don’t have the time to sit down or want something on the lighter/healthier side. It is also great to note that they offer online ordering with quick pick-up, so it’s really convenient if you’re busy and can’t wait.
Morgan is a local Registered Dietitian and food lover. She currently resides in Raleigh, NC and loves the Triangle food scene. She was born and raised in New York, so she often looks for the comforts of home through delicious foods. Since moving to the Triangle, she enjoys eating from the eclectic local food scene. Whether it’s food trucks, hole-in-the-wall places, or fairs you’ll find her there with her partner in crime and fellow foodies, trying it all to tell you about it.