Mar 4, 2012

Savoy 越苑

Image Taken From This Blog

Savoy, or Yue Yuan Pho, is a Vietnamese restaurant that offers one of the best bowls of American-Style Pho in Taipei. They excel in their noodle quality and their meaty ingredients. The slices of beef were hearty, the brisket was tender and flavorful, the meatball snapped, the tendon soft, and the tripe had its deep notes while being sufficiently chewy. These combine into an astounding bowl of pho that tops all the other pho I have tried in this city. The price is fair; 200 for a normal bowl of the "Special #1" or "Train Station Rare Steak Pho". It is no wonder that it still reigns supreme in the Vietnamese category in hungry girl's poll. However, I have tried Savoy near the east district, and I felt it paled in comparison to the Yue Yuan near the far eastern mall. I was quite surprised to find out that they were connected. Regardless, they still beat their competitors, pho sho.

Address:  台北市敦化南路二段103巷8
                 No. 8, Ln 103, Dunhua S Rd, Sec 2
Phone #:  02-2701-2523
Business Hours: 11:30-15:00, 17:30-21:00
Accepts Credit Cards: yes
Price Range:   $$
Attire: casual
Good for kids: yes
Take out: yes
Waiter Service: yes
Outdoor seating:  no
Alcohol: yes


Food Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Decor:  3.5 out of 5
Service: 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5
Final Thought: Best bowl of American-style pho


The dining space in this branch is rather small, and the spacing between customers is very packed. However that does not seem to be a problem because your focus on the environment is quickly distracted by pho when it arrives. You almost forget the interesting faux brick wall and pea green decor. Also, you forget the kind and expedient service from the friendly workers all wearing a orange shirt that says "good pho you". The space is quaint and comfortable enough, it's what you can expect from the average modernish noodle shop. Once you order your pho your server will swing by and drop off...
A plate of the vegetable fixings . The only thing that I can say about this is that they need to provide more basil with bigger leaves and maybe add some of that cilantro in this mix. They also need more of that cilantro tasting leaf, and more sliced jalapenos. But this isn't the thing that docked the most points from my dining experience here, which would have otherwise been nearly perfect.
Here lies the perpetrator. This might be more authentically vietnamese, and some may prefer it. However, my American style pho experiences were usually graced with the Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce (i think...), which I would argue is infinitely better than the lighter vietnamese version. Somehow i get the feeling that this hoisin sauce is not as deep in flavor and less thick in consistency. It could be my mind's playing tricks on me or my memory over-elevating a past experience. If they switched to Lee Kum Kee or at least offered the alternative, it would certainly raise the taste of the Hoisin Sauce Sriracha mixture that I use to dip my meat items in.
There was little too complain about the pho itself. The soup was smooth and flavorful (a bit less oniony and MSGish but still good). However, I do think the broth at Madam Jill's to be a lot better than Savoy. The slices of meat are of good quality, thicker, marbled and with the right amount of tension to each bite. The meatball could have been bigger and meatier, but the brisket and tripe really made me forget my slight dissatisfaction with the meatball. The brisket was very close to the flavor and texture to the Pho So 1 brisket available in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The tripe also carried that familiar stench and added a chewy texture to make the bowl of interesting to eat. Brisket and tripe are ingredients that are not common in many of the pho places in Taiwan. This is probably because more authentic pho in vietnam is probably served only with beef slices and not decked out with the treasures floating in the American-style pho most westerners have grown accustomed to. Due to my biases through nurture, I recommend Savoy / Yue Yuan Pho for American phonatics who crave the type of pho that they know and love but keep failing to attain in the more "authentic" vietnamese pho restaurants.

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