Sit Lo Saigon Brings On THE PHO!
Sit Lo Saigon brings on the pho! A small taste of Vietnam has arrived in Elk Grove, thanks to this little spot that just opened up. It is true that pho is offered everywhere. But I personally prefer a dining experience that is terrifically unforgettable in every way. Starting with convenient parking, to an inviting welcome, prompt and courteous service, and a clean but interesting ambiance, Sit Lo Saigon checked all the boxes. Let’s not forget to add some superstar-tasting food and beverages. Another check.
Generally when I dine out, I enjoy feeling like an honored guest at a friend’s home for a memorable meal. However, it’s not always just the great food that I am interested in. In order for this particular food critic to return back to a restaurant, I need to feel that I have had a wonderful experience as well. Then, there’s the tab. This is where I want to feel good about my exchange, one that I have been charged according to my expectation. Nevertheless, Sit Lo Saigon checked all the boxes during my first visit, and this little spot certainly delivered!
ABOUT SIT LO SAIGON
Sit Lo Saigon is a cozy little Vietnamese restaurant. It is located inside the Laguna Crossroads shopping mall, across from Target, on Bruceville and Laguna Boulevard. It sits between the DSW shoe store and the Pinkberry yogurt shop. Plenty of parking is available as the lot is very large and spacious. Handicap access is also available, making it feasible and easy for elderly and disabled citizens to dine here.
SOME PHO INFO
Pho soup is the iconic, national soup dish in Vietnam. It is the country’s staple dish and a comfort food. A nourishing and aromatic bowl of pho is traditionally served at breakfast time. It is pronounced fuh and the term refers to the noodles, not the soup. However, pho is made with pristine white rice flour noodles, and a delicious clear broth. Lastly, the broth is typically made from beef or chicken which is simmered with cinnamon, star anise, cloves and cardamom. Also, roasted onions and ginger are the key vegetable ingredients. Garnishes typically include Thai basil, chili peppers, green onions, coriander, and mint sprigs. Due to its high protein content and nutritious ingredients, this soup may offer several health benefits such as reduced inflammation and improved joint health. Obviously, delicious and healthy, pho soup has always been one of my favs!
THE 4 SIGNATURE PHO SOUPS
Four signature pho soups are offered at Sit Lo Saigon. Each one boasts of its own unique and distinct flavor. They are called Hanoi Pho, Saigon Pho, Chicken Pho, and Bun Bo. They can be ordered in a regular-sized bowl at $11.99 or a large-sized bowl at $13.99. Each delivers the unforgettable flavors of Vietnam. As I tasted these soups, the flagrant aromas reminded me of my memorable trips to Southeast Asia. Sit Lo Saigon brings the authenticity of this beautiful part of the world to Elk Grove.
The beef broths in all four signature soups are simmered for a tedious 72 hours. They are each served fresh, with the accompaniment of the large, flat, pho noodles. Thin pho noodles are also offered as a substitution, and according to your preference. Likewise, the sizes of these dishes are impressive. The portions of meat, noodles, broth and garnishes are extremely generous. In my opinion, the prices here are very good for the portions served. Additionally, I have included the menu for you at the bottom of this article. A large bowl of pho can be split as a main dish between a family of two or three, depending on your appetites, and whatever else you decide to order.
Please take note that pho soup is best when it is eaten fresh. Although, it may be okay when refrigerated and consumed within a day. After several hours, however, the thin noodles tend to turn into mush, as they gradually soften in the broth. Should you decide to take home an order, I suggest that you order the large noodles. My take-home orders with the large noodles were just as good the next day, as they were on the day I ordered them.
Saigon Pho is a southern Vietnamese style soup that is loaded with all the beef cuts; ribeye, flank, tendon, brisket, tripe, and beef balls. Also, it is served with a side of herbs and veggies such as mint leaves, sprouts, green chile, and lime. We ordered the large, flat noodles which were perfect for this dish. The meat portion is extremely generous and very filling for one person. Conversely, the price of this meat dish is extraordinary, given the price of beef at the present time.
If you are a meat lover, you will definitely enjoy the various consistencies and textures of the many different parts of meat morsels. The side of herbs and veggies is optional. Each can be an addition to your pho, and each ingredient can be added according to your taste preference. This pho is completely terrific on its own. It is hearty, satisfying, and incredibly unforgettable. Definitely come back for more, we sure did.
Hanoi Pho is a northern Vietnamese-style soup. Indeed, it is wok-fried ribeye in a savory beef broth. It is loaded with scallions and is served with a freshly, fried doughnut. The doughnut is similar to a small, deep-fried croissant. It was a tad too greasy for my taste, but I did observe patrons enjoying it as they dipped the donuts in their soups. This soup, however, definitely does not need the donut to accompany or enhance it by any means. The Hanoi Pho is another absolutely hearty, flavorful, and filling soup. The thin pho noodles are perfect in this soup, and you also have the option of large noodles. The overload of scallions adds another delicious element to an already delectable dish. This soup is a favorite among customers, and it appears to be the most popular of the four signature soups offered here.
When deciding to choose between the Saigon and Hanoi, keep in mind that the flavor of the Saigon Pho is more sweet than savory, and the Hanoi Pho is more savory than sweet.
Bun Bo is a spicy beef broth served with vermicelli noodles, beef shank, Vietnamese ham, tendons, flank. Like the other soups, It is served with the same herbs and veggies, such as sprouts, mint leaves, green chili, and lime. If you love to dunk a whole lot of hot sauce into your pho, as I observe many of you doing, you will love this dish! Surprisingly, It has just the right amount of spicy warmth where you can add more chili to your liking. Of course, the savory and salty broth can be very addicting after the first sip, so make sure your tummy can handle the heat before you dare dig in.
Chicken Pho is a free-range, hand-peeled chicken soup. It is served with a big portion of white and dark meat, with skin. It is offered with the usual side of herbs and veggies just like the other soups, green chili, lime, mint leaves, and sprouts. Again, this soup does not need any more additions, as it is bursting with unspeakable deliciousness. But, if you love the mint leaves as much as I do, with the lime addition, then this is a must-add.
The chicken pho contains no beef, yet tastes like a combination of both chicken and beef, with the chicken dominating the flavor in the broth. By far, this pho was my most favorite out of the four soups. Generally, it was lighter in consistency in comparison to the beef broths, and not as fatty in taste. Indeed, the morsels of chicken spoke were delicious, as I did not taste any morsels of fat, just healthy portions of white and dark chicken meat. We ordered the large, flat noodles and they were perfect for this dish. Obviously, I highly recommend the Chicken Pho. It is a hearty and delicious soup for the upcoming fall and winter seasons. Whether or not you are a pho connoisseur, this chicken soup is a must-try.
EXTRA SIDES TO GO WITH THE PHO
Extra sides are offered in addition to the pho soups. Sides such as Short Ribs with Beef Broth, Fried Donuts, Gigantic Beef Bones, and Meatballs with Soup. After trying the four signature soups here, I could not wait to then try an extra side… and this extra did not disappoint!
The Short Ribs in Beef Broth were indeed shocking in size and in price at $6.50. Subsequently, we were impressed with the tenderness and mild, yet savory flavors of the meat. Although I am not much of a meat-eater, I found myself tearing into these ribs like a true carnivore. If you are a rib lover, this is a terrific side to just eat alone or to add on to your meal.
VIETNAMESE BEVERAGES – COFFEES & TEAS
The Mango Fruit Smoothie is a mango-flavored drink, served with a third of boba and rainbow jellies. Also, it has loads of whipped cream, and it is very rich and creamy. If you love boba and jellies, this milky sweet, mango drink will make a very satisfying dessert!
Sua Da Iced Vietnamese Cold brew was a whoa moment for me! I was in love at the first sip. If you are a coffee lover, you are about to fall in love. Basically, Sua Da is like a marriage between a latte and a Turkish coffee, with sugar added. It is stronger than a double latte, but not as strong as Turkish coffee. Believe me, one sip of this concoction, and you will be hooked, just like I was. But this is definitely my newest elixir of choice. Just be warned that although this cold brew is deliciously addicting, it is extremely strong and highly caffeinated.
The Lychee Lemonade is another favorite of mine. It is very clean and light in flavor, yet extremely refreshing and soothing in this summer heat. Also, iced bits of lychee, aka my favorite fruit in the world, sit at the bottom. The lemonade is neither sweet nor sour. It does not taste like a typical lemonade. It is much yummier! This drink feels hydrating and comforting, almost like a deliciously cold, fruit-flavored water. I was told that the Lychee Lemonade is a top seller at SIt Lo Saigon, and I can see why. Big kudos on this one!
THE AMBIANCE AT SIT LO SAIGON
The ambiance at Sit Lo Saigon is casual and comfortable. Fortunately, this is a quick order-eat-and-go type restaurant. The soups and the food are all served promptly, almost immediately after ordering. Upon entering, expect to be greeted at the counter where you will order from a short menu, and pay at the counter. You will then be offered a decanter of water and glasses to take to your table of choice. Self seating is available indoors and outdoors. Easy, breezy, and simple, just the way I like it.
The interior of Sit Lo Saigon has somewhat of an upscale feel or one of a fine dining restaurant in Southeast Asia. Beautiful decor, murals, and wall paintings of Saigon surround this place. Gorgeous leaf and straw decor hang from the ceilings. Colorful murals of Vietnamese vendors selling fruit and vegetables under a hot Saigon sun set the theme. The interior is orderly and well-kept. It is clean, new, and aesthetically pleasing.
The outdoor patio is set in a more simple, small, but serene atmosphere. Trees hover over the patio with decorative lights hanging above the dining tables. The patio overlooks the parking lot, which at most times of day is usually peaceful and quiet. It was a calm Sunday evening when we dined outside on the patio, and we enjoyed our time out there very much. The service here is very calm and courteous, accommodating and friendly. The vibe at Sit Lo Saigon emotes a sense of serenity and peace right within the busy heart of the bustling city of Elk Grove.
Of course, I highly recommend Sit Lo Saigon to anyone and everyone who loves pho, soups, Vietnamese, or Southeast Asian cuisine. If you are a pho or soup connoisseur, you will find yourself coming back for more, like we did. For those of you who would like to experience a taste of Vietnam, you may find yourself just loving this little spot. Ikt truly represents the flavors, culture, and etiquette of Saigon in so many ways. So, stop by for a quick pho, and you may just find me out on the patio, typing away, basking in the sun while sipping on a Sua Da. But make sure to say hello, and let me know your thoughts on my recommendations. “Cam on” or a big thank you to SIt Lo Saigon, and “Hoan nghenh,” welcome to Elk Grove!
SIT LO SAIGON
7405 Laguna Boulevard, #170, Elk Grove, CA. 95758
Hours: Open daily 11 A.M. – 8 P.M.