Pho Nam Cali / National City, CA

Jake, T, and I went to see Doctor Strange down at the cheapie theater in Chula Vista over the weekend. After the movie, I wanted some dinner and picked a Vietnamese place over in National City as our spot. Enter Pho Nam Cali.

Pho Nam Cali Menu

The hours on Yelp were confusing – it said “9:30AM to 8:30AM” and I was like.. what? But Yelp’s listed hours are wrong since Pho Nam Cali closes at 8:30PM.

Menu Front | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

Here’s the full menu:

Menu 1 | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

Menu 2 | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

There seemed to be a good mixture of food to choose from here.

Menu 3 | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

Drinks at Pho Nam Cali

Vietnamese Iced Coffee | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

It was the evening already but I had a hankering for a Vietnamese Espresso [$3.99]. I got it iced even though it was a bit cool out. I was actually secretly hoping they would serve it fresh and it would sit and brew at the table… but looks like it is prepared in advance since I got this right away. This was hella strong but had a nice creaminess to it from the condensed milk. I drank only a 1/4 of it and saved the rest for the morning. 

Fresh Coconut | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

T ate two hot dogs at the movie theater and wasn’t hungry for dinner. All he got was a Fresh Whole Coconut [$3.79]. He worked really hard to get the coconut out, too, so he could eat that as well. He seemed to like it but I don’t think it’s the best one he’s ever had. 


Jake was in the mood for some milk tea but… they didn’t have any milk tea. Our waitress suggested he try a Thai Iced Tea [$3.99] instead which he got with boba. He got whipped cream on top, too, so it looked a bit like a milkshake. It was a bit on the sweet side. 

Food at Pho Nam Cali

Pork Shrimp and Egg Roll Bun | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

I was in the mood to eat some vermicelli noodles so I picked out one of their three bun bowls. I was a little sad to see only three options. I chose the Pork, Shrimp & Egg Roll Bun [$8.99] bowl since I really wanted egg roll in it (the other two options didn’t have egg roll). As soon as I got this I was disappointed. There seemed to very little meat in the bowl! Only two small grilled shrimp, one egg rolls, and just a little bit of grilled pork. For the price tag of $8.99 I was expecting a heftier bowl of food. I put some of the fish sauce on top of the bowl and mixed it all up and it tasted well enough – but the lack of protein was noticeable. This tasted fine but just felt like a cheap portion. 

Korean BBQ Short Ribs | Pho Nam Cali - National City, CA

I spied the Korean BBQ Short Ribs [$12.99] on the menu and knew this was something Jake would want. He’s not a real big fan of Vietnamese food (he always gets this “ugh, I don’t want that” look on his face when I suggest it) so luckily there was something on the menu that would appeal to him. The short ribs had a really nice flavor and we both enjoyed the sauce/marinade that was on the meat. The little side salad kind of sucked though – it was mostly cabbage and daikon, vegetables that Jake doesn’t really care for. Again, this felt like a skimpy portion of food for the price tag, but the meat did have great flavor. 

While the food tasted fine I did feel a bit cheated on the prices here. They were a bit higher than what I’m used to and considering the portion size, I felt this was a bit overpriced. 

Pho Nam Cali
2344 E 8th St.
National City, CA 91950
(619) 207-4494

2 thoughts on “Pho Nam Cali / National City, CA

  1. Sorry, that seems pretty sucky to have a nearly $9 bowl of bun with hardly anything in it. You’re better off at Pho Mai Cali (the old Da Kine’s) on Sweetwater Road. Their food is pretty good and they do not skimp.

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