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Where's Your Favorite Pho Near VTA?

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As the weather cools down, a big bowl of pho hits the spot.

We’re asking all the “pho-natics” out there to vote for the very best pho restaurant near VTA! Just share the restaurant and nearest VTA stop or station on social media using #VTApho, ideally with a photo or video.

There are many great restaurants serving this quintessential Vietnamese dish conveniently close to VTA bus stops and light rail stations. Help your fellow riders discover your favorite.

We’ll announce the winner at the end of the contest, and three randomly chosen contestants will win a $25 credit at their favorite pho restaurant. To enter the contest, be sure to use #VTApho and follow the contest rules below.

Before we get started, though, a word about pronunciation: Pho is pronounced “fuh.”

Also, it can be eaten for breakfast as well as lunch or dinner.

Pho History

Pho is considered the national dish of Vietnam. It’s believed to have originated from villages in northern Vietnam and was popularized during the French colonial period in the late 19th century.

Its popularity spread to South Vietnam in the 1950s, where its flavors and preparation evolved. The dish was later exported worldwide after 1975 due to Vietnamese migrations, and has since evolved further with adaptations as pho restaurants opened in the United States, Europe, other Asian countries, and around the world.

San Jose has the largest Vietnamese population of any city outside of Vietnam, and Milpitas has a sizeable Vietnamese population as well.

As a result, we have an abundance of great pho restaurants to choose from.

Popular Ingredients

If you’re new to pho, here are some insights into the popular ingredients you’ll encounter, provided by our own resident pho-natics.

Pho always uses white rice noodles. You can choose wide or narrow.

The secret to a great bowl of pho is in the broth. The broth is usually either beef-based (pho bo) or chicken-based (pho ga). There are also vegetarian options in some restaurants.

The secret is cooking the broth with bones, herbs and spices in big pots for many hours. Some of the common spices are star anise, rock sugar, lemon grass, coriander pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks, fennel, cardamom, fish sauce, and white onions.

You can order many different types of meats in pho: beef balls, boiled chicken, thinly sliced rare beef, fatty flank, flank steak, tripe, chicken, pig blood tofu/pudding, and beef bones.

Popular Garnishes & Condiments

Some of the most popular garnishes are basil leaves, bean sprouts, pepper, green pepper, red pepper, lime slices, white onion slices, culantro leaves, green onions and cilantro.

If you see broccoli or carrots in the broth, our in-house experts tell us, it’s not pho.

People also add their favorite sauces to the bowl. You’ll typically find the following on the table at a pho restaurant: sriracha, chili paste, fish sauce, and hoisin sauce.

Popular Drinks on the Side

Many people just drink water or tea with their pho, but some enjoy a Vietnamese coffee or a beer depending on the meal.

Boba tea is also commonly on the menu—we’re considering a contest like this one in the future to pick the best place for boba tea near VTA. Get ready.

Contest Rules

Entries must be submitted between Dec 4 and Dec 10 at midnight to be eligible for entry. No purchase is necessary.

To enter our contest, you must post an original photo, text post, or a ten second video about your favorite pho restaurant and the closest VTA route. Upload the photo, video or text post on Instagram, Twitter, or VTA's Facebook page wall, and include the hashtag #VTApho.
The pho restaurant referenced must be located with ¼ mile of a VTA bus stop or light rail station.

There is no limit on the number of original photo, video or text entries per participant.

Entrants must be 13 years or older to win. Winners under 18 years of age must have parental consent to claim their prize. Inappropriate or offensive images will be disqualified and removed. The contest is open to all Santa Clara County residents excluding VTA employees and their immediate families. No substitutions or exchanges are permitted.

VTA will have a random drawing at on Dec 11. Three (3) winners will be chosen, and each will win $25 to spend at their favorite pho restaurant, in the form of a gift certificate or gift card.

Winners will receive prize notification on Dec 11 via social media and must claim their prize by 4:30 pm on Dec 15 as directed through prize notification.

If a winning entrant of any prize cannot be contacted, fails to claim the prize, or is ineligible, he/she will forfeit that prize and the prize will be awarded to the next winner. Limit one prize per participant.

Subject to your profile and privacy settings, once you have shared content by posting it to the public, VTA may re-share your content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. VTA will recognize the original author of the content. VTA will re-share or re-tweet content shared as part of this contest for advertising and promotional purposes without compensation.

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