Le's daughter-in-law, Ngoc Dinh, works at Pho Lien Hoa, learning the business as she and her husband prepare to carry on the tradition. Born in Malaysia but raised in Oklahoma, she says she never tires of pho.
"I like them all," she said. "There's so many ways you can eat it, it's always a little different."
While pho is to Vietnamese soup as Coca-Cola is to soda pop, Pho Lien Hoa actually offers a variety of soups: Hu Tieu contains roasted pork and clear noodles; Bun is vermicelli and cellophane glass noodles; and Banh Canh is pork and udon noodles.
Dinh also said it's not uncommon for experienced diners to request certain combinations of ingredients, choosing from flank steak, brisket, tendon meat, tripe, shrimp, quail eggs, crab, fish balls, mussel, red cabbage and squid.
If there's a beef description you don't recognize, simply check the east wall where a beef map hangs, bearing the Vietnamese terms for each cut.
Each bowl of soup also comes with a shrimp cracker. Pho Lien Hoa serves fresh spring rolls and fried egg rolls. They also offer several smoothies, from jackfruit to avocado to strawberry; tapioca bubbles are optional.
Pho Lien Hoa certainly isn't the only purveyor of this hot, exotic soup, but it's certainly one of the most established.
For now, Le only has the one location, but expansion is in the works.
"Maybe two more years," she said before explaining that her children would have to run any new restaurants, and right now, they're too young to give up their freedom. "Once it opens, they can't go anywhere anymore, like me."
Pho Lien Hoa is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
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