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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pho Dac Biet from Turtle Tower

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 2:03 PM

click to enlarge That holy moment just before you drive your chopsticks into the noodle packet and stir. - BENNET A./YELP
  • Bennet A./Yelp
  • That holy moment just before you drive your chopsticks into the noodle packet and stir.
As a daily windup to the Weekly's Best of S.F. 2010 on May 19, we've teased out 92 of our favorite local dishes that taste like here. Delicious details after the jump.

Number 40: Pho Dac Biet from Turtle Tower

Thanks to Turtle Tower's popularity, half of San Francisco now gets the difference between northern and southern pho: That southern pho has the clear, light broth with those sweetish overtones of star anise and cinnamon; while the broth in Hanoi-style pho bo ― which even southerners will admit is the original version ― is less spiced up and tricked out. No Thai basil. No bean sprouts. More beef.

Order Turtle Tower's dac biet (house special), and the broth, deep brown and slightly murky, tastes like it's been simmering and intensifying for hours, with the creamy echo of bone underneath the big-beef flavor. The meats weaving in and over the wide rice noodles are all impeccably cooked: The tai, or rare beef, is a mat of coarsely chopped red flesh that darkens and breaks up as you fish below the rice noodles, hunting for book tripe with the perfect snap to it and tender, gristle-free strands of flank and brisket.

While southern pho seems the perfect lunch for a bright, hot May day, northern pho is winter food, suitable for flus, colds and hangovers alike. We've eaten across the table from strangers holding a pack of Kleenex in one hand and a soup spoon in the other, and all of us left Turtle Tower healthier than we entered.

Turtle Tower 631 Larkin (at Willow), 409-3333

Craving more? Check out these previous links to our countdown:

No. 92: Cracked Half Dungeness from Swan Oyster Depot
No. 91: Pastrami Sandwich from Orson
No. 90: Coconut Bun from Out the Door on Bush
No. 89: Brown Sugar-Black Pepper Biscuits from Little
Skillet

No. 87: Indian Pizza from Zante
No. 86: Tamales from All-Star
No. 85: Chilaquiles from Nopalito
No. 84: Poc Chuc from Poc-Chuc
No. 83: Chocolate Beignet from Arlequin Cafe
No. 82: Scallop Crêpe from Ti Couz
No. 81: Gin and Tonic from Pizzaiolo/Boot and Shoe
Service

No. 80: Quesadilla from Rico Pan
No. 79: Turkey Kati Rolls from Kasa
No. 78: Emperor's Pancake from Suppenküche
No. 77: Lasagna from Zuppa
No. 76: Chicharrones from 4505 Meats
No. 75: Langka Ice Cream from Mitchell's
No. 74: Bacon Potato Chips from Who's Your Daddy
No. 73: Lamb Dumplings from Kingdom of Dumpling
No. 72: Chile-Braised Carnitas Sandwich from Bento 415
No. 71: Chili from Mission Burger
No. 70: Croissants from La Farine
No. 69: Xiu Mai Banh Mi from Saigon Sandwich
No. 68: Creme Brulee from Sweet.
No. 67: Limon Cebiche from Limon
No. 66: Chicken and Waffles from Brown Sugar Kitchen
No. 65: Brioche Bread Pudding from Tartine Bakery
No. 64: Turkish Salad from Old Jerusalem
No. 63: Ribs from Bruno's
No. 62: Prupisceddu in Umidu (Stewed Octopus)
from La Ciccia

No. 61: Hot and Spicy Beef Jerky from Marin Sun Farms
No. 60: Pozole from Chilango
No. 59: Lobster Roll from Sam's ChowderMobile
No. 58: Dry-Fried Chicken Wings from San Tung
No. 57: John Campbell's Scones from Lovejoy's Tea Room
No. 56: Prahok from Angkor Borei
No. 55: The Garden-Fresh Pie from Pizzetta 211
No. 54: Pata Negra Ham from Contigo
No. 53: Stone Bowl Bibimbap at Han Il Kwan
No. 52: Green Papaya Salad from Green Papaya Deli
No. 51: Egg Puffs from Shanghai Dumpling King
No. 50: Cactus Tortillas from La Palma
No 49: Thai Barbecue Chicken from Manivanh
No. 48: Salt and Pepper Crab from R&G Lounge
No. 47: Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes from Mission Minis
No. 46: Octopus Tostada from Mariscos La Costa
No. 45: Pan con Chicharron from El Perol
No. 44: Burmese chicken-noodle soup at Yamo
No. 43: Roast Duck from Cheung Hing
No. 42: Rotisserie Bird from Goood Frickin' Chicken
No. 41: Franklin's Teleme Cheese

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