“You know how to eat that?” asked the kindly woman as she set a steaming bowl of soup before me at Pho Mai. Did I know how to eat pho? To handle the chopsticks and spoon? To lift the long noodles from the big bowl of broth without slapping myself in the face with a wet noodle? I’ve learned over the years. But Vietnamese food can be perplexing to the uninitiated. It’s hands-on.
Pho Mai makes the best Vietnamese food I’ve found in Fairfield County. It’s been open for about a year, and it’s worth a jaunt to Wood Avenue in Bridgeport (across from the Wood’s End Deli) to enjoy the fresh, herb-filled, sweet, sour, and fermented flavors of Vietnamese food.
Pho Mai’s red awnings strike a cheerful air on a bleak corner. Inside, the place is spic and span clean, with freshly painted yellow walls. Big orange fish swim back and forth in an aquarium that bubbles soothingly. The restaurant has been near empty every time I’ve been, and that’s a shame because the food here is seriously good, and it’s a great place for a weekend lunch with a group of friends.