Gone is the Tapioca Express on Red Hill in Tustin; in its place is Pho 99. Its affiliation to the other Pho 99 in Fountain Valley is not clear, but I'm sure there is some familial connection. Those numbers always indicate one.
The Pho 99 in Irvine, as some might recall, changed its name to Golden Bowl awhile back. This new restaurant, next-door to an also-newish Kami Sushi, will compete for the same customers already accustomed to the discounted pho at Pho Bac Ky down the block--a restaurant we featured in our Recession Food Issue.
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As far Tapioca Express is concerned, the closing of this franchise takes the down the total tally of the chain from five to four (three in Irvine, one in Westminster).