A food truck newcomer has fun with classic Vietnamese fare.
➼ You might think it’s a bad idea to encourage people to say the Vietnamese soup pho—correctly pronounced “fuh”—in the way most of us English speakers are initially inclined to, more like “foh.”
On the other hand, what’s the harm? A local couple played off the West Virginia area code 304 when they named their Vietnamese food truck 3-0-Pho to Go. “I wanted to make it fun and interesting, to where people aren’t saying it wrong,” says T.J. Fowler. The southwestern Pennsylvania native co-owns the truck with his wife, Cam Fowler, who grew up and studied hotel and restaurant management in Vietnam.
Started this year, 3-0-Pho to Go is the only Vietnamese food truck operating in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania, as far as Fowler is aware.
The truck’s specialty is, of course, pho. “It’s the Vietnamese soup, a beef broth with beef ball or angus flank or both. We put rice noodles in there, bean sprouts, Thai basil,” Fowler says. The couple’s rendition of the famous Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is made with steamed pork, along with the traditional cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrot and daikon, and choice of mayo or spicy mayo. The fresh spring rolls are prepared with shrimp. Combo plates carry the pun through: Ordering the Pho Sho gets you half a banh mi sandwich, a small bowl of pho, and a bottle of water; the 20-Pho-7 is a small pho and water plus cassava cake, which Fowler says tastes like coconut.
The truck’s drink selection is every bit as interesting: passion fruit bubble tea and iced matcha green tea as well as iced Vietnamese coffee. “We get the coffee sent in vacuum-sealed packages from where my wife’s family is from. We French press it and add condensed milk,” Fowler says. “It’ll definitely jump-start your day.”
Although the couple are new participants in food truck culture, Fowler is already playing a key role as director of the West Virginia Alliance of Food Trucks, one of a regional cluster of organizations that act as clearinghouses for food truck booking and advocate for food truck–friendly policies.
To find 3-0-Pho To Go, check the Sunday posts about where the truck will be over the following week. They’re located under the Vietnamese for “Fowlers Fast” on Facebook.
724.208.0785, “Fowlers Nhanh” on Facebook
written by Pam Kasey