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.
Here’s the full menu:
There seemed to be a good mixture of food to choose from here.
Drinks at Pho Nam Cali
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.
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
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.
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