Photastic Broth at Sup Noodle Bar [Hole in the Wall]

The broth on its own is fantastic: a standard-looking bowl of steaming-hot pho sets itself apart from the rest with its strongly flavorful bone broth and fragrant spices. We recommend coming in for lunch because, come dinner time, Sup Noodle Bar is packed until closing, and you’ll want to take your time slurping down the pho.

The small restaurant is located off Buena Park’s stretch of Beach Boulevard, our very own K-Town (a.k.a. Buena Korea), equipped with eateries offering all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue), Korean fried chicken, dumplings and more. It’s become such the hotspot that Koreatown hot shots now frequently open an OC branch here (e.g., Kang Ho-Dong Baekjeong).

Wholly ours for the time being is Sup Noodle Bar, serving up Asian fusion fare. Start with an order of golden bao, Vietnamese fried pork dumplings stuffed with caramelized onions, minced mushroom, Chinese sausage and a hard-boiled egg. It’s a Viet twist on a scotch egg—sweet, savory and great for sharing. Other bites include crispy garlic-and-parmesan chicken wings, Korean barbecue gyoza (beef and chap chae gyoza served with spicy garlic soy), shaken house fries, light but tasty shrimp (or tofu) spring rolls, and skinny fries topped with shaken beef, garlic, caramelized onions, Cheddar cheese and spicy tartar sauce.

But you are here to eat a pho that simmers for 24 hours, its richness accentuated with star anise and garnished with white onions, scallions and culantro (similar to cilantro but more pungent). This is just the base broth; Sup Noodle Bar offers an even more aromatic Northern Vietnamese shaken-style pho that includes garlic, sliced onions, scallions and wok-seared bone marrow oil for a smokier flavor. Choose between thin and flat rice noodles or ramen to pair with tender pho short rib, pho tom (shrimp), pho dau hu (soft or fried tofu), pho beef belly, pho duoi bo (braised bone-in oxtail) or pho dac biet, chef’s choice of beef belly, tendon, brisket, meatballs and short rib. Add a sous-vide (slow poached) egg to any of these for an extra layer of umami.

The chef also offers rotating noodle specials (we highly recommend ordering these). In the fall, they served garlic noodles with grilled prawns (think Garlic and Chives) and duck breast pho—succulent pan-seared duck breast served alongside a bright broth. The meatiness of the duck combines with the pho for a rich, pleasant flavor that lingers. Pair this dish with ramen noodles—you’ll thank us later.

Now that Sup Noodle Bar has opened a second location in Cerritos, wait times may dwindle for their bowls of pho—but either way, it’s worth the wait.

Sup Noodle Bar, 5141 Beach Blvd., Ste. B, Buena Park, (714) 521-2444; supnoodlebar.com.

Cynthia Rebolledo covers anything and everything food, culture and spirits.

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