Shanghai Restaurant Review: Pho To Shop

By Sophie Steiner, December 2, 2019

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The Place

Wuding Lu is a hub of international dining options. Within a one-block radius, there’s Spanish, American, Italian, French and now Vietnamese cuisines. They’re all geared towards those looking for a cheap and cheerful meal, so new addition Pho To Shop fits in nicely. At this fast-casual diner, the menu is a pared-down list of popular dishes with an emphasis on authenticity, reasonable prices and speed.

The Food

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

When pho is in the name, you order it, and you have a choice of chicken or beef. We opted for the latter, also known as Pho Bo (RMB60/small, RMB70/large), and the large easily feeds two people. The flavorful broth combines concentrated umami with a refreshing lightness improved upon by an abundance of fresh herbs and slippery wide rice noodles.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

Imagine our surprise when the Bun Cha (RMB70) stepped up to steal the show. A massive portion of pork belly meatballs comes swimming in a tangy, sweet fish sauce broth studded with slivered garlic and carrots. Spooning that over the heaps of fresh herbs and lettuce, grilled pork, fried spring roll and sticky rice noodles, we were left feeling satiated, yet not weighed down.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

One of the more unique dishes comes in the form of Cambodian Fish Amok Curry (RMB58), a creamy, flavor-packed turmeric and herb soup with large pieces of tender fish and a hint of lime, best when soaked up lavishly by fluffy rice.

Image by Sophie Steiner/That's

With eight different Bahn Mi (RMB45-75) choices, we kept to the classics and opted for Xa Xiu Pork (RMB55). Fresh, crispy baguette. Check. Loads of julienned and pickled veggies topped with fresh herbs. Check. Thinly sliced, slightly sweet and tender barbecued pork. Check. Bahn mi success. 

Food Verdict: 2.5/3

The Vibe

The retro Andy Warhol-esque prints of Sriracha bottles and coffee mugs don’t do much to cover a shoddy paint job or add life to a shotgun design job. Still, the quick service, convenient location and great prices will make us repeat customers. An upbeat playlist and nice outdoor seating is an added bonus. Avoid first date situations (unless you want to ensure Netflix and chill vibes), but Pho To Shop is ideal for weekday lunches and laidback Sunday hangouts.  

Vibe Verdict: 1.5/2

Total Verdict: 4/5

Price: RMB90-130 per person
Who’s going: hungry expats, Wuding Lu dwellers
Good for: Vietnamese food cravings, friend dates, quick nibbles

[Cover image by Sophie Steiner/That's]

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See a listing for Pho To Shop. Read more Shanghai Restaurant Reviews

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