Authentic Laotian cuisine at Sassy Souk’s is a must-try.
I love pho. The rich, savory flavor of the broth and meat that the onions and noodles soak up, as well as the experience of adding the toppings to all the right ratios, make it delicious and fun to eat. Usually, I find pho in Vietnamese restaurants, so when I saw it featured at Sassy Souk’s, a local Laotian place, I was immediately intrigued by their “Lao-style” pho.
Sassy Souk’s sits on busy Lombard Street near St. John’s neighborhood in North Portland. Large red letters spell out their name across floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the street. While parking can be dicey to find on Lombard, there is plenty of parking on the side streets just off the main street. Once inside, I was greeted by friendly staff and told to sit anywhere I liked.
Using a QR code on the table, I pulled up the menu and started browsing. The menu has an extensive variety of starters, soups, curries, fried rice, banh mi, and Laotian specialties. I was excited to see Sassy Souk’s offers a lunch special for $2 off a large pho plus a drink. I chose the large top sirloin pho with oolong tea.
There were not many people in there for a mid-week lunch, so my food came out quite fast. My pho came with a side plate of basil, mung beans, limes, and jalapeños. Hoisin sauce, chili oil, and sriracha were already at the table. The pho was everything I was hoping for. The meat was tender, and the broth was very flavorful. The oolong tea had a wonderful toasted flavor, which I loved.
I wasn’t sure what made the pho “Lao-style” as it tasted very similar to the Vietnamese pho I’ve had in the past. The menu states their broth is what makes it Lao-style, which is made over 12 hours. Perhaps it is a difference in spices or meat base for the broth. Whatever technique makes it Lao-style, it also makes it tasty.
There are so many other offerings on the menu I want to try, so I will be back to Sassy Souk’s soon, I’m sure. The staff was friendly, the service was quick, and the food was delicious — what more could you ask for from a local lunch spot?