Owner: Jim Ong.
I immigrated from Vietnam in the 1980s and settled in New Jersey with my family, graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia after graduating from Vineland High School. Eventually I got into commercial photography and spend 8 years in NYC, where food clients were my favorite. There’s something very special about selling food. I think it comes from my big, food loving family. My mom spend all her life cooking for three generations. Two of my brothers are head chefs in well known restaurants in Canada. My sister Anita also owned restaurants in Delaware. It’s safe to say as a family, we are into food. It warms the soul and the heart, and that’s what I hope to do at Pho Barclay. If I’m at the restaurant and you don’t know much about Vietnamese food, ask me! I’d love to introduce you to our traditions.
Established in 2009
More than 30 years ago, the Ong family left their homes, cars and careers behind in Vietnam, arriving in the United States with little more than the clothes on their backs. Their first taste of American life was a drive-through meal from a well-known burger chain. “It didn’t taste like food,” son Jim recalled. “It was all grease.” After a successful career in New York as a commercial photographer, Jim returned to South Jersey to start a family – and wound up starting a restaurant as well. Pho Barclay premiered in July 2009, with Jim and his sister Anita as cooks, managers, catering salespeople and floor moppers, too. After an appearance on Cooking Channel’s “Restaurant Redemption” in 2014, Jim purchased his sister’s share of the restaurant and made upgrades to the interior and the food, including noodle bowls and virtually fat-free soup broths. In Spring 2017, Pho Barclay will launch its first loyalty program as a way to thank you, our customers, for 9 “pho-nomenal” years in business.
encompasses the foods and beverages of Vietnam
, and features a combination of five fundamental tastes in the overall meal. Each Vietnamese dish has a distinctive flavor which reflects one or more of these elements. Common ingredients include fish sauce
, shrimp paste
, soy sauce
, rice, fresh herbs, fruit and vegetables. Vietnamese recipes use lemongrass
, Vietnamese mint
, long coriander
, Saigon cinnamon
, bird’s eye chili
, and Thai basil
leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of dairy and oil, complementary textures, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.