PhoMai1By Peter Bui

6765 W. 120th Ave. Suite A | Broomfield, CO 80020
Tel: 303-466-6346 | phomairestaurant.com
HOURS: Mon – Sat: 9am to 10pm | Sun: 9am to 9pm

Looking at the name itself—Pho Mai—you might think this is your typical pho restaurant which focuses on the very popular Vietnamese beef noodle soup, but you’d be wrong. Here, pho is just the tip of the Pho Mai’s culinary iceberg.

Located in Broomfield across the street from Pacific Ocean Marketplace, Pho Mai has been opened for two years, where it was formerly Pho 120. Since then, Steven Vuong and his family have assumed ownership and completely revamped the space and the menu. Vuong and his family emigrated from Saigon seven years ago, where he worked in advertising. But after his departure, he has taken on a new career in the restaurant business.

Vuong started pursuing his passion by working for other restaurants to gain knowledge and experience. His family also made for excellent resources. His older brother owned a restaurant in Vietnam and his cousin graduated from culinary school in Australia and is a top chef at a five-star restaurant there.

His mother, Hong Mai Vo, who the restaurant is named after, is the head chef and the developer of most of the recipes. Traditional authentic Vietnamese cuisine is where Pho Mai shines.

Aside from the pho, which is their most popular menu item, Pho Mai has a slew of traditional dishes. Vietnamese cuisine provides a complex variety of flavors like sweet, salty, sour, and bitter, and it plays with textures by adding fresh, crisp vegetables. Case in point is the Banh Cuon Nhan Thit Cha Lua. This is where they start to get very authentic. This dish contains thin and delicate rice sheets rolled and filled with sautéed minced pork topped with fresh bean sprouts, cucumbers, fried shallots, and a side of sliced pork roll served with a sweet fish sauce. This recipe is a highly guarded one and was given to Vo by a good friend who owns a popular banh cuon restaurant in Vietnam. The banh cuon practically melts in your mouth and the vegetables provide a crisp texture with the fish sauce bringing it all together.

The Salad Thit Nuong is very colorful, light and filled with fresh vegetables also served with the quintessential fish sauce. Pho Mai’s specialty rice plate, Com Tam Mai, contains many items but the standouts are the egg loaf and the perfectly cooked pork chop. There is a lot going on in this dish and if you are indecisive this a great choice for you.

BANH CUON NHAN THIT CHA LUA - Flour sheets rolled with sauteed pork and pork meat loaf
BANH CUON NHAN THIT CHA LUA – Flour sheets rolled with sauteed pork and pork meat loaf

The Mi Xao Don Hai San is a tremendous plate of fried egg noodles topped with tons of seafood including calamari, muscles and scallops and vegetables such as bok choy and carrots all combined to make a savory plate. Pho Mai serves other traditional soups outside of pho such as Bun Rieu. This tomato-based seafood soup is filled with vermicelli rice noodles, scrambled shrimp, crab meat, meat balls, and sliced pork rolls. These dishes only provide a glimpse of the menu that also contains vegetarian options, smoothies and even hot pot!

The restaurant continues to grow, now in its third year. Vuong and his family don’t anticipate slowing down. They have big plans for the future, one of which is to add even more authentic dishes to the menu. To eat authentic food is to experience another culture, and Pho Mai is serving up platefuls of Vietnamese culture. So if you’re looking for something new or searching for a taste of home, Pho Mai is your destination.