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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Get your ‘soft tendon’ at Pho Van - or not

I can remember driving down Division Street in the 1980s, counting Chinese restaurants. From Hawthorne Road to Sharp Avenue, we called out the names … and stopped when we reached double figures. Not because we ran out of restaurants but because we got bored.

Times have changed, as have the types of Asian food Spokane residents can order. No longer limited just to Chinese food, area eaters can enjoy Japanese, Mongolian, Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese — not to mention dishes that are listed under the vague heading of … well, "Asian."

One of my favorite spots is Pho Van, which is located on Division (of course) near the Division/Ruby split. My wife and I ate there the other night, and I ordered No. 11 (see the above photo), which is a blend of short ribs, shrimp, a fried egg on rice, while my wife — who typically orders No. 16 went with the No. 7 soup.

Why the change? Number 7, she said, was the first of the soup dishes on Pho Van's menu that didn't feature "soft tendon."

Makes sense. And I doubt you could have found that particular ingredient on a Spokane menu 30 years ago.