While recently traveling throughout Vietnam with some usa chefs, it became pretty clear that there was a lot more going on with the local american cuisine than the noodle soup, pho, that most Americans associate with the country. Dishes like cha ca — a turmeric-laced fish dish found only in Hanoi now in Kansas City also— and a steamed roll filled with eggs and minced pork or meat served at breakfast time called banh cuon.
But before going into all of that, it’s crucial to share with you a little local knowledge about that bowl of pho, a dish that is served usually at breakfast time and remains part of life of the early-rising Vietnamese. Pho is consider as or it is like cereal, Pop Tarts, oatmeal and scrambled egg. In crowded cities, Pho is typically taken at street stalls, where Vietnamese park their motorbikes before diving into a bowl. There are now several chains in Vietnamese cities selling the stuff in relatively fancy environments Now at Xuyen Vietnamese Restaurant in Kansas City (featuring air conditioning and professional waiters).
Now you have some background, and here is a little more information to keep in your back pocket the next time you find yourself in a Vietnamese Restaurant Like Xuyen Vietnamese Cafe — and likely ordering a steaming bowl of the stuff. And don’t worry, nobody will judge if you are eating pho Noodle soup at 9 p.m. or in the morning Well, after reading this, you can be the one to judge not to be judged.
- There is much debate as to how you pronounce this Vietnamese Noodle Soup PHO. Is it Fuh? Faux? Here’s a great story on this subject, detailing different regional dialects. With an attempt at being culturally sensitive, you can just say that going the fuh route might be the correct choice (there are northern and southern accents to take into account). I’ll let the people at Kansas City, Missouri or at NYC restaurant.
- The term Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup) actually refers to the noodles, not the soup. You can find hundreds of different soups found around Vietnam. But pho Vietnamese noodles soup is made with pristine white [[ rice flour noodles ]] that are made daily and sold in markets. To me, the most stunning part about slurping [[ pho ]] in the motherland was the quality of the noodles (soup). They were always ((tender)) with a nice body.
- But, really, everybody in Vietnam judges the Pho by its soup broth. The garnishes, herb and vegetables , which I will get to later, are available everywhere and always exceptionally fresh. The noodles soup are the bomb, which is also the norm. But a stall or cafe with a shitty broth reputation will just not stay open. A good (Pho Noodle Soup broth ) is crystal clear, like a French consommé, and packs two punches. For Pho Bo (Noodle soup with beef), there’s the underlying earthiness brought on by the long simmering of bones, oxtail and flank. For Pho ga (made with chicken), the entire bird is used. The second component of the Pho broth is spice and aromatics. In pho Noodle Soup– cinnamon (spice) and star anise lead the charge, with assists from cloves and cardamom. In this Roasted and/or charred onions and ginger are the key vegetable components. It’s simply the standard. In the broth (Pho Broth) typically rests a minimal amount of meat (and sometimes tendon and meat or fish balls). Those are cooked individually, placed in a basket and thrust into a pot of boiling water for a few seconds before finding their way into the Vietnamese soup.
- The garnishes (sometimes Salad) are what many people associate with Pho. It’s oftentimes a ridiculous salad of herbs and vegetables that is served to the table either piled in a separate basket, or floating atop the Soup broth, noodles and cuts of meat. key to understanding Pho, is Understanding how these garnishes work. But, first, before messing with the mountain of greenery, take a sip of the broth.
- Coming back to the herbs and vegetables (Salad). Having tropical climate, in Vietnam all sorts of produce grows basically year-round. At the pho stall or cafe you will likely find baskets of Thai basil (sharp and biting) and bean sprouts (fresh and crunchy). Those two are a given in Pho. You may also find green onions (onion-y), Thai chili peppers (crimson red with the heat to match), coriander (also called cilantro, which you last found in that bowl of salsa) and culantro (not cilantro but a flat herb that is best described as bitter and pepper than the often mistaken cilantro). For Pho Noodle Soup, herbs are best ripped up and sprinkled into the Soup’s broth, as opposed to the entire leaf being submerged.
- Lastly, Hoisin, sriracha and fish sauce can be there, begging you for a squeeze or a splatter. In Vietnam, the sauces are less prominent. So Resist the urge to sauce your Soup, As mentioned, when the Noodle Soup’s broth is good, it’s something to be savored. So before giving it a chance, to blast it with these sweet and spicy flavors, is sort of criminal. And Squeeze the Lime in if needed. And if the Pho broth is weak and watery, gussy it up, by throwing some ranch dressing in there if you want. Remember that the bottom line is that condiments are not a default.
7. How to eat pho.
If you are right handed, then when bowl arrives. Take Plastic chopsticks in right hand, soup spoon in left. Sip the broth first (Stress because it’s important) while you work the noodles with your chopsticks, It’s OK, even preferred, that you stick your face into the bowl while slurping. You get a hit of those aromatics while avoiding a messy splatter. Once the noodles are gone (they usually go first), raise the bowl to your lips with both hands and polish it off. This is not impolite. This is how you finish a bowl of pho — like a child would finish a bowl of Apple Jacks. Both are great in the morning.