Phở

I was first  introduced to this hot steaming bowl of goodness when I attended college in Palo Alto, California in 1992. Little did I know at that time that this would be an event that would change my eating habits forever.  I was with a friend of mine who never called it Phở but rather, “Vietnamese Noodle Soup.”

The first time I ate Vietnamese noodle soup,  I had the special which was basically Phở with everything they had to offer in it. This included the following: Tai, Chin, Nam, Gan, and Sach which translates in to: Eye Round Steak, Well Done Brisket, Flank, Soft Tendon & Tripe. Before the soup was even served, the server placed a small dish with cut up limes, bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, and jalapeno. Since it was my first time I had to ask if those items were part of Phở . When my bowl arrived at the table it was steaming hot. I could see the eye round steak being cooked due to the hot broth that was poured over the meats. I could smell the star anise and the other spices that the broth was made up of and it was amazing how it smelled. It filled my senses and I could not wait to taste it. Before I was able to taste my soup, I looked around to see what everyone else was doing and saw them putting the condiments into their soup. I also saw people using the tall bottles of Sriracha hot sauce and another sauce called Hoisin. I enjoyed my bowl of Phở for the first time and thought to myself that I would like to try it again but the next time I would try it without some of the items that I had put into my bowl.

A few years later I was in Vietnam. I was eating Phở in my country of birth. It was served differently from the way I was used to getting it in California. It was also served differently depending on where in Vietnam I was. In the North, it is served with wide noodles and in the South, it is served with thin noodles. It didn’t matter where in the country I ate Phở because I really liked it. Of course, I did have some bad bowls of it there just like I have had a few bad bowls of it here in the US. Never the less, the bad bowls did not stop me from eating it again.

Today I eat Phở around 3 to 4 times a month. I used to eat it more when I lived closer to a Phở restaurant and when I was a bachelor but still, 3 to 4 times a month is better than none.

Phở is a comfort food for me. It ‘s fast, it is good and it is satisfying. There is nothing better than a hot bowl of Phở when you are sick or have had too much to drink the night before. For some reason, when ever I am sick I seem to feel better after a big serving of Phở and the same goes for after a long night of drinking.

If you’ve never had Phở before, give it a try. If you have had it before then hopefully you get the same satisfying feeling I get after eating it at one of my favorite spots.

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