If you're counting pho restaurants per capita, Issaquah doesn't rate anywhere near its neighbors to the west. There are only two dedicated pho joints in town, including Joe Vu's Jenny Pho, a favorite of Pho Filer Michael Smith.
Smith likes the balanced, beefy broth at Jenny Pho, but he was also struck by Vu's story when he visited on a census-taking trip. "It's truly an American dream story!," he writes.
A teenaged Vu in 1981 fled Vietnam by boat, stopping first in Malaysia and then moving to the U.S. He worked in a medical lab until 2009, when he decided to open his first restaurant. He says he wanted to "challenge himself to bring real Vietnamese to Issaquah, to bring consistent quality to the area."
According to Vu, clean beef bones, salt and ginger are the most important elements of his pho recipe. He also swears by "constant skimming off of foam."
A perfect bowl of pho, Vu says, is brimming with meats.
"Everything in it," he says. "Tripe, tendon, meatball, raw brisket, cooked brisket and fresh rice noodle."