For the fifth straight year, three Thai and Laotian restaurants in the Silver City neighborhood on Milwaukee’s South Side are celebrating the Vietnamese soup, pho.
The restaurants participating are Bamboo at 3427 W. National Ave, Thai Bar-B-Que at 3417 W. National Ave, and Vientiane Noodle Shop at 3422 W. National Ave.
Sponsored by Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, each restaurant is offering $5 bowls of pho all February long. There is also the Phobruary challenge, where participants have the chance of winning a $25 gift certificate to Asian International Market at 3401 W. National Ave.
The challenge is to finish a $5 bowl of pho at each restaurant in one day. To participate, you should pick a restaurant to start with and order pho. After you finish your dish, send a photo of yourself with your empty bowl and your receipt to Celia Benton, economic development director at Layton Boulevard West Neighbors. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first three people to complete the challenge will receive a gift certificate. All other champions will win a certificate of achievement and be entered to win a gift certificate. The winner will be announced on March 1.
The three restaurants are located within a block of each other, making this challenge a daylong event and an opportunity to check out other attractions in Silver City between meals.
Participants can also take a long lunch break. Emilio De Torre, a challenge winner from last year, did that.
De Torre ate three bowls of pho in under an hour over a lunch break last year. “I still have the certificate pinned up on my wall,” De Torre said. His advice to future challenge participants was, “Don’t be a cheapskate and leave noodles and broth. And don’t forget to breathe.”
Another option is to spend a whole day with good friends hopping pho shops like Phobruary challenge regular Sam Leichtling.
“Bring a good group of friends to support the restaurants and everyone can have a good time,” Leichtling said. “It’s more about having fun with friends and getting to try different restaurants.” Leichtling
Pho is a soup made of broth, rice noodles, herbs and varying meats, typically beef or chicken. There are more than 30 restaurants in the Milwaukee area that serve pho.
“If you plan on doing them all [of the three restaurants] in a row, I would say that’s going to be a little too much to chew,” said Jay Benaderet, the first person to complete the challenge this year. If eating three bowls of pho one day is too daunting, taking advantage of the $5 meal is still a great option.