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Cover Story

Family Dining Flourishes With Vietnamese Flair

By Kyle Galdeira Photos By Leah Friel
December 15, 2013

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By serving up quality dishes bursting with flavor and freshness, and doing so in a warm, inviting atmosphere, Pho My Lien has built a stellar reputation as one of Oahu’s sought-after dining destinations for Vietnamese-inspired cuisine.

Tommy and Lien Dang have worked diligently for decades to bring delicious fare from their homeland to Hawaii at affordable prices, and satisfied diners continue to reap the rewards.

Pho My Lien serves up fresh and fulfilling Vietnamese cuisine to its constantly growing legion of loyal customers, as the husband-and-wife duo has offered popular home-style dishes since initially opening their previous Waikiki locale in 1999. The dynamic duo relocated to Aiea three years ago at their current home in Westridge Shopping Center adjacent to Pearlridge, and customers have followed.

“Everything we serve includes fresh ingredients and vegetables that are delivered daily,” says Walter James, a longtime friend of Tommy and Lien and financial adviser to the couple. “We’ve been serving these dishes for about 15 years now, and we are popular with both the older and younger generations. We’re a family-style restaurant with great prices. Consistency in the items we offer is also very important to us — the same taste, same ingredients, same preparation.”

Pho My Lien draws its name from the traditional noodle soup, which Vietnamese rely on as a daily elixir that clears the head and warms the heart. Pho ($8.50 for large) is served with herbs, mint leaves, bean sprouts, chili pepper, lemon wedges and multiple sauces, so diners can craft the soup to their liking. Pho comes with choices of beef, mixed vegetables or shrimp and squid ($9.50 for a large).

As the holiday season shifts into full gear, Pho My Lien is rewarding customers by offering a can’t miss December special. As an inside scoop for Dining Out readers (remember to bring the restaurant’s coupon from this issue), the restaurant is offering Summer Rolls (regularly priced at $5.25) for just $3.99 — each month, the restaurant offers a special item for under $5. Summer Rolls feature two large rolls filled with rice vermicelli, mint leaves and bean sprouts wrapped in rice sheet and a choice of boiled shrimp, shredded pork, barbecue beef, barbecue pork, barbecue chicken or tofu along with a special peanut or fish dipping sauce.

Crispy Spring Rolls ($7.95) are also a big hit with diners, and are composed of thin flour sheets encompassing pork, chicken and shrimp along with shredded carrots, long rice and mushrooms. Spring Rolls are then deep-fried to golden-brown perfection and served with lettuce, mint leaves, rice noodles and dipping sauce.

Rice Vermicelli ($10.95 regular) offers an incredible value as the dish includes a bed of crisp lettuce topped with nearly a half-pound of fresh rice noodles, which are then covered by vegetables and two choices of crispy egg roll, barbecue beef, barbecue shrimp, barbecue chicken or barbecue pork. For just $2 more, another meat selection can be added to the hearty meal.

“We give you about a half-pound of noodles with this dish, and you can see that the bowl is so big, you could probably serve two or three people,” says James, when describing the Vermicelli bowl.

Pho My Lien’s extensive menu also features sauteed dishes and customer favorites such as Broccoli Sauteed ($7.95). The alluring offering comes with a choice of chicken, pork, beef, shrimp or tofu, which is then sauteed to perfection along with fresh broccoli in a savory sauce. Shrimp Fried Rice ($10.95) also stands out as a go-to rice plate, and features fresh shrimp and vegetables blended together with a large plateful of perfectly seasoned rice.

“You get great value for your money,” James says. “We’re conveniently located right across from Pearlridge Center, and offer plenty of free parking. We have great loyal diners who continue to come back to the restaurant.”

Pho My Lien is open for lunch and dinner daily and also offers a 10 percent military discount. The restaurant owners and staff take pride in serving the local service members, and were recognized by the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command for providing “host support” of soldiers in recent years.

Takeout orders are also welcomed, and may be placed by calling the restaurant at 488-4900. Customers are encouraged to call the eatery to inquire about catering options and large parties, including holiday get-togethers.

Just in time for the holidays, Pho My Lien offers gift certificates in $25 and $50 denominations — stocking stuffers that definitely will be appreciated by all.

Pho My Lien

Westridge Shopping Center
98-150 Kaonohi St. Suite B213-B
488-4900
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.