Oakland is a fantastic place for a bowl of Pho. Or so I've heard. You see, while East Oakland has some reportedly great pho joints due to the large and growing Vietnamese population, there's a lot of other distractions over there in the form of tacos, Lao food, and dystopia. But this doesn't stop me from eating it elsewhere.
As much as a worthwhile outing just might consist of looking for the best this or that in some far flung part of town, sometimes you just eat what there is where you are. That's the pleasure of eating Pho in Vietnam, or the specialty of any given town or country. In America, this concept is turned on it's head and what is close by is often a crap shoot.
Kangnam Pho, named after an affluent district of Seoul, South Korea, is a Korean owned Pho joint. My Korean dining partner tells that Kangnam Pho House is owned by a Korean-Vietnamese couple. She also tells me that the pho here is perfect for Korean people, whatever the hell that means. I did a litle reading online and learned that this spot was once just a simple Korean Restaurant, but the owners wanted a change, as in a successful business. The menu changed to primarily Vietnamese food, with a sprinkling of Korean items. The menu might have changed, but the clientele still seems to be heavily Korean.
While this is first and foremost a Vietnamese restaurant, there is one particularly interesting touch: Kimchi comes with your greens, and as a kimchi lover, this is not an unpleasant surprise.
Since this establishment caters to Pho loving Koreans, there is also soju on offer. My companion and I shared our disappointments and broken dreams over a bottle. A huge bowl of pho, and a shot or two of soju and the outside world all seemed like a distant dream.
4419 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609