Dining Out

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Restaurant: how things have changed

There are two ways by which restaurants deal with the rising cost of ingredients — they either raise the prices of their food items or they sacrifice the quality of their food items so that they won’t have to raise the prices.

The case of the shrinking burgers, for instance, is very much obvious. The size of chicken and chicken parts is another example. Max’s sells spring chickens that are no bigger than Cornish hens. The iconic KFC sells chicken parts that are half the size of what they sold over two decades ago and the gravy has become thin and artificial tasting.

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At Pho Hoa Vietnamese Restaurant (Eastwood branch), the fresh spring rolls looked like these in 2007 (see the September 2007 review where the photo originally appeared).

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On June 11, 2011, we had dinner at Pho Hoa, again at the Eastwood branch, and the fresh spring rolls had so much less meat. The crushed peanuts on top of the dipping sauce have become microscopic. But that’s not all.

If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, you’d know how much the herbs and vegetables served on the side are such integral parts of a pho. The mint, basil and mung bean sprouts sprinkled with a little lime juice are all supposed to go with every mouthful of pho for that complete Vietnamese taste. Well, there were no saucers of mint, basil, mung bean sprouts and slice of lime on June 11. Very disappointing.

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Even the iced tea at Pho Hoa has become ice with a little tea.

After that June 11 dinner, I decided I won’t go back to Pho Hoa again.

But it’s not like Pho Hoa is the only restaurant in my never-again list. There are others that used to be good but have become so lousy over the years. North Park Noodle House tops the list. Then, there’s Fazoli’s. And Sbarro. I used to love eating in these places. That’s the operative phrase now — used to. I prefer higher prices, or smaller servings, to a downgrade in quality of food.

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