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Big bowls of big flavor

Visit Tacoma's Lincoln District for Pho Dragon

The serving sizes at Pho Dragon are large enough for multiple meals. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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ANNOUNCER: Dutch and Jackie visit the Lincoln District of Tacoma known for its internationally diverse community, which is evident in the collection of eateries. The cravings turned fresh and spicy this week at Pho Dragon where traditional Vietnamese food is served six days a week for lunch and dinner.

JACKIE: Six days a week, the real treat is instead of being closed Sundays, they are closed Wednesdays. This means on those Sundays when you have a hankering for Asian fare and pho, you can count on Pho Dragon.  

DUTCH: It was evident when I walked in that this was a community hot spot full of locals from the neighborhood who felt right at home here. I also noticed that every table had ordered the fresh spring rolls. Wanting to fit in, I of course ordered them as well. Wrapped tightly together, the fresh flavors of bean sprouts, lettuce and basil are combined with pork ham and jumbo shrimp offering lots of flavor and crunch that can be topped off with a dip in the peanut sauce.

JACKIE: Sometimes it pays to try and fit in, Dutch. Like the saying goes, eat where the locals eat. This place is no joke. Lincoln District is largely comprised of strip mall-esque establishments that line South 38th St. Nearly every "hole in the wall" boasts big flavor and loads of personality.

DUTCH: I expected my bowl of pho to be standard lunch size, but instead received a very large bowl of Vietnam Spicy Soup filled with spicy broth, thick vermicelli noodles, assorted fresh crisp vegetables, sliced beef, pork ham and garnished with fresh green onions. The big bowl turned out to be exactly what was needed as to my surprise, I finished the whole dish.

JACKIE: The serving sizes are enough to satisfy an army of lumberjacks. I had a "Dry style" dish, which is a broth-free noodle dish, built like a soup but heartier. With ample amounts of vermicelli noodles laying the foundation, it only got better with lightly charred BBQ pork, crisp bean sprouts, carrots and lettuce on top. Add an herbaceous pop with fresh mint and a nice crunch of ground peanut to really balance it all out. Bonus, a crisp, fried BBQ shrimp eggroll. I did not finish the whole dish. I could create rations and eat off this one dish for the next couple of meals.

DUTCH: The fresh greens side salad is a great addition to the spicy dishes. Crunchy lettuce with a touch of lime juice -- it added just the right touch to ease the pallet.

JACKIE: Two of my favorite components to a good dish are color and texture, and Pho Dragon executes both flawlessly.

DUTCH: The locals know what's good in their neighborhood!

Pho Dragon, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., closed Wednesday, 757 South 38th St., Tacoma, 253.472.6153,

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