An Alternative to Beef Pho at Cafe Diem

Cafe Diem is a Vietnamese restaurant that is as tiny as it is authentic. The one page menu is dominated by noodle soups. The internet suggests the  bun bo hue, spicy beef soup, is the thing to get here. But my friend at Philadining praised the chicken noodle pho- called pho ga- and I decided to get over my notion that only beef pho was worthy of consumption.

My take out order cost $8. Pho Ga ga oo lalala… Diem’s secret is freshly killed chicken, how awesome is that.   Some of the chicken pieces still had skin on and the rough chop left some  veiny bits that I needed to remove but overall the pieces of chicken are really tender, so  I should probably only eat freshly killed from now on?

The mung beans, lime, jalepenos, hot sauce, cilantro, and thai basil are all there, plus the noodles which I could have used more of. The broth is lighter than regular beef pho, but there was a lot of depth in the flavor. This soup can cure things, I can tell.

I had a feeling I was not going to love the “salted lemonade” but I got it anyway.  I should have saved my $2.50. But to Diem’s credit, I was warned. They use pickled lemons actually, and this lemonade is funky. It tasted and smelled like something I would use to wash my kitchen floor.

I’ll stick to the soups; next time that bun bo hue everyone is talking about.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • I love the idea of a chicken version of pho

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • It is  a bit more expensive then some of the other pho places
  • That salted/pickled lemonade is an acquired taste
  • I don’t want to know how long ago my chicken was killed

Cafe Diem, 1031 S 8th St  (@ Washington Ave), 215-923-8347


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