When you think of Torrance, Vietnamese food isn’t the first thing you consider. In fact, Vietnamese food is more associated with Westminster in Orange County than in the South Bay; however, just off of Hawthorne in a wide plaza full of independent restaurants and shops is a little pho shop called Pho Hana.
If you’re unfamiliar to pho (pronounced “fff” like “fork” and “uh”: “fffuh”), it is a Vietnamese dish that consists of broth, vegetables, meat, and rice noodles. The broth is slow simmered and cooked for hours, if not days, using Asian spices and bone to create the stock. The aromatic flavors are comforting and for many people, pho is considered the cure for hangovers.
And the best thing about pho? You can arrange the taste to your liking. Because pho is solely dependent on the ingredients added by the diner, each bowl is a different experience. At Pho Hana, they provide you with mint leaves, bean sprouts, lime, hoisin sauce (think “Asian barbecue” sauce), hot sauce, and salt & pepper. So, all you have to do is test out what works and what doesn’t to make the pho to your liking.
When you first walk into Pho Hana, the front room looks like most typical Torrance restaurants: clean, wide spaces, huge windows allowing natural light, and calm; however, if the front is full, they seat you in the back room. If the front room is like Torrance, the back room is like shanty town Vietnam. The room has very little natural lighting, except for the crack of a screened door in the back. The colors are much more brown, accentuated by the dim tungsten lighting. The walls are covered with vinyl album covers of singers from the 80s (Tom Jones, Billy Joel, etc.). There is even a shelf that carries old radios and rotary phones. The place is surprisingly dive like.
At first, the pricing might be a little steep. With most pho being $6.95 for a large bowl, it’s about a dollar more than the large bowls you would get in Orange County; however, once you receive your pho, you realize why. The bowl comes out with the broth kissing the rim, barely contained by the confines of the bowl. And unlike most pho shops, which only give maybe six or seven pieces of meat, the pho at Pho Hana is swimming with a navy of meat. You’ll be shocked and delighted with the plethora of tasty meats awaiting your mouth. Don’t be surprised if you finish your noodles to find some more meat hiding in the murky broth.
Pho Hana is a great destination to go during lunch time. It is affordable, it is filling, and it tastes great. If you never had pho, this is a good place to try it. If you are an avid pho lover, this place is a good try too, although not the best by any means. Pho Hana is simply a good restaurant with good flavors.
22815 Hawthorne Blvd
Torrance, CA 90505