Pho Noodle Soup at Cafe Orient. Photographer: Walter Orellana.
Not all Pho is equal, and Café Orient is clear proof of that. Located in Chatsworth, the popular Vietnamese restaurant, which opened in 1993 in a small strip mall, is known for its pho noodle soup and Asian fusion dishes.
Café Orient is a take on Asian fusion cuisine created by Chef Dan Nguyen, while keeping true to its Vietnamese traditional dishes.
The menu offers a variety of Asian inspired dishes, including Lo Mein, Orange Chicken, Fried Rice, Wonton Soup, Veggie Spring Rolls, Salads and the restaurant’s most popular dish–Pho Noodle Soup. Menu options for carnivores are plentiful, but there are options for those who are vegan as well. There’s something for everyone at Café Orient.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions in L.A. County, there is no dine-in, or eating outside, only takeout in-person or ordering over the phone. The COVID-19 limitations have turned the interior into a mini Asian market offering do-it-yourself customers—rice, noodles, soup broths and spice ingredients to create dishes at home on their own.
The popular dish at Café Orient is their Pho Noodle Soup. The traditional Pho Soup comes with a beef broth base, white and green onions, rice noodles, and assorted toppings, including mint, basil leaves, cilantro, jalapeños, green peas, bean sprouts and lime wedges.
Of the five different meat Pho Soups, the Vegetable Pho includes: carrots, broccoli, bok choy and zucchini. But to be clear, the vegetable soup is not vegan. It comes with a beef broth base. However, they have a truly vegan pho soup with gluten free rice noodles available.
After removing the lid from the styrofoam cup, the beef broth aroma takes its first swipe at the smell receptors. The assorted toppings and garnishes engage the visuals, which jumpstart the taste buds. There is no right or wrong way to dress up your pho. It all depends on how much spiciness one can tolerate. Once the Pho Soup is prepared with the assorted toppings and spice levels, the first taste is an intense burst of spices, lime and a bold beef flavor engaging the tastebuds — hints of mint, cilantro and sweet veggies mix just right in the broth, setting off a savory kick.
And with every scoop, the body temperature rises, the jalapeños bring out the heat. The rice noodles in the broth become soft and tangy with the lime, hoisin and Sriracha sauce. The zucchini, bok choy, carrots and broccoli add texture and sweetness.
Whether it’s a beef or vegan base pho soup, Chef Nguyen has created a tasteful blend of flavors with his Asian fusion inspired dishes.
Address: 20527 Devonshire St. Chatsworth
HOURS: Monday to Saturday from 11a.m. – 8p.m., closed Sundays.
Take out is available in person or over the phone at this time due to Covid-19 restrictions.