Bobalicious might just be the kind of place Anthony Bourdain is always searching for—a family-run, hole-in-the-wall, authentic pho joint. Rather difficult to locate, Bobalicious is attached to a Deli Mart service station out on Highway 6, across from Paul’s Discount. For all of you townies—it’s in the old Donutland location.
Upon entering Bobalicious, you may have the feeling that you just walked into a cool day care center. The place is small and cheery, the floor is a red and white checked patterned, the folding tables and chairs are mismatched and light—easy to arrange for various group sizes. Patrons are encouraged to use an array of colorful Sharpies and Post-It notes to create graffiti which are then taped to the walls. Half the fun is viewing the messages and drawings left by previous customers, like “U R SIN IS STINKY!!!” …Alrighty then!
Pho (rhymes with duh, not doe) is a Vietnamese noodle soup which would be akin in sentiment to chicken noodle soup. If you are sick, hungover or just need some comfort food, pho is the food you seek. At the family-run Bobalicious, the food is all made to order, one dish at a time by a reticent grandmother figure who only sometimes ventures out from the small kitchen. She doesn’t speak. She is magical. The pho, pure delight. You can go traditional with various meats or Buddhist (True fact: Buddhist monks created the vegetarian version) with tofu. Bean sprouts, red chili pepper and limes are brought on the side so you can customize your bowl. Multiple sauces—fish, chili and hoisin—are provided for customization. I added lime, bean sprouts, red pepper slices—for flavor only, it is outrageously spicy—and a lot of Sriracha. I like to shed spicy tears over my pho.
If pho isn’t your thing, other options include banh mi (akin to a submarine sandwich), and Bobalicious also offers a dizzying array of bubble tea flavors, including cookies and cream, lychee and avocado. If a nightmarish recollection of slimy, inedible, plastic bath beads is what comes to mind when hear the words “bubble tea” may I be so bold as to suggest another try? The avocado flavor was subtle and refreshing, and chocolate made for a perfect dessert treat. The pearls (tapioca beads) were soft and easy to chew like warm Gummi Bears.
The dishes are all made to order. Thus, do not expect your meal to pop out in two minutes. Trust—it is slow food well worth the wait for the quality. The staff is very congenial and treat you like a valued customer whose repeat business they want to earn.
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