Bo Ky Restaurant – $5 Pho

Bo Ky Restaurant (or New Bo Ky Restaurant)
80 Bayard St
(between Mulberry St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013

Y.P. wanted pho. I don’t have Vietnamese food very often for some reason… not too sure why because I love pho and love this one whole roasted fish dish that you pick at and wrap in rice wrappe sheets – anyone know what it’s called? I was going to be in the Financial District area so looked up the best pho place in the area and found Bo Ky.

The restaurant reminded me of those typical Chinese fastfood places in Hong Kong where people slurp up their wonton noodle soups in suits, leave cash on the table, and head back to their busy lives. We came on a weekday for lunch and the place was surprisingly packed with mostly solo diners. You are expected to share tables and to leave as soon as possible.

I didn’t actually see pho on the menu, though everything they had was “pho-like”. They had a number of other noodle dishes, as well as some appetizers such as the Salted Water Duck, which I saw many order. People came in as regulars and ordered without even looking at the menu. I felt pretty n00by needing a menu and taking more than 3 minutes to decide. I ended up getting the Cambodian Noodle Soup ($5), which had a typical pho-like broth (supposedly made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, onion, ginger, and spices) but instead of the usual condiments, had pork slices, shrimp, and fish balls with half-cooked bean sprouts.

Noodles were okay – did not break and were somewhat chewy. Despite the large bowl, the portion was pretty small. Pork, shrimp, and fishballs were all decent as well, with nothing spectacular to note. For $5, this was a pretty good and somewhat healthy/oil-free tasting bowl of soup noodles.

Y.P. had the Special Beef Flat Noodle ($5). I didn’t taste it but she seemed content, especially after dousing it in sriracha and sweet hoisin sauce. Her noodles seemed more springy because they had larger surface area – more to chew on. I was disappointed to see that the dishes lacked both fresh basil leaves and raw bean sprouts. Those are definitely some of my favorite pho condiments. I guess these noodles aren’t really pho after all. What kind of food does Bo Ky have then?

What are your favorite pho places in the city? Better yet, where can I get some quality Vietnamese roasted whole fish?

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