Gimme Mo' Pho
January 10, 2007 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Pho (pronounced fuh), Hanoi's signature beef broth scented with ginger and anise, is one of the world's great culinary glories. Turns out it's not an ancient dish, but a 1950s-era syncretic product of the French occupation of Vietnam, which introduced the notion of boiling beef in a pot au feu (which may be the origin of the name). The heady, fragrant noodle soup is a global hit, prompting an international pho conference, several good blogs, and a sensual national obsession: "When Vietnamese talk of pho they think of sex: 'We say that rice is a spouse, whereas pho is a lover.' " "Pho is life, love and all things that matter." Tips on eating and cooking pho - recipes and more inside.
posted by CunningLinguist (105 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pho's global appeal: "In San Jose there's a Taco Bell next to a pho shop," she recalls. "The Taco Bell was not busy, but the pho shop was mobbed with Mexican families."

How to read a pho menu.

Pho discussion at eGullet

Pho finder (US only)

Nicole Routhier's pho recipe, a 30-minute version (which assumes you already have good broth) and lots more.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:42 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the post. I've been curiously eyeing the Vietnamese place nearby for a while. Think I'll maybe stop in sometime this week.
posted by SBMike at 11:47 AM on January 10, 2007


i know what i'm eating tonight.
posted by empath at 11:49 AM on January 10, 2007


Don't forget glorious Pho puns!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:51 AM on January 10, 2007


btw, for experienced pho eaters-- the pho places around here offer a lot of uhm, 'unusual' cuts of meat in pho-- tripe and various other organs and whatnot. Are any of them actually good to eat or should i just stick with like 'flank steak'.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on January 10, 2007


Obligatory Pho Bich Nga picture
posted by The Straightener at 11:53 AM on January 10, 2007


If you order it with anise, take great care in your pronounciation.
posted by hal9k at 11:54 AM on January 10, 2007


Time for a #86, large. I am not getting enough tendons in my diet. *drools*
posted by Iron Rat at 11:55 AM on January 10, 2007


I don't know if it's still there, but about eight years ago, dead downtown San Jose had an excellent pho kitchen.

It was called, amusingly, Pho Kyu.
posted by Malor at 11:56 AM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


As far as 'unusual' things, I'm not a big fan of tripe and tendon... it's a textural thing. You could order a bowl with the usual beef *and* the tripe, if you want to try it without going for an all-out tripefest.

I had conch pho once, which was pretty damn good. It wasn't listed on the menu though.
posted by CKmtl at 12:00 PM on January 10, 2007


Thanks for noting the pronunciation. I get tired of hearing folks wanting to go eat some "foe".
posted by yeloson at 12:01 PM on January 10, 2007


After I gave up eating beef -- how my heart longed for pho. Fortunately, if you look hard enough, you can find it in chicken and tofu varieties that are, surprisingly, almost as good.
posted by treepour at 12:02 PM on January 10, 2007


Way cool, just in time for this year's go-round of Atkins. Beef spiced with ginger and anise. Whoda thunk? Sounds yum.
posted by nickyskye at 12:05 PM on January 10, 2007


What the Pho?
posted by milnak at 12:06 PM on January 10, 2007


If you're in Austin, there's a terrific Pho place called 'Hai Ky' on E. Oltorf. I've probably eaten there 100 times or more, and have established a 'pho window' when the broth is reduced and more flavorful, but not too salty... about 3pm. Try the P14! Delectable!
posted by breakfast_yeti at 12:09 PM on January 10, 2007


That's funny, I just made pho for the first time on sunday. I used this recipe which is fan-pho-tastic. This soup is one of the great sensual pleasures in life.
posted by TungstenChef at 12:11 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pho is definitely great, but to me, this salad is the epitome of Vietnamese cooking. Just about every Vietnamese place I've ever been to serves it, with chicken, shrimp, or both. It's good for you, and it tastes just so damn fresh (fu-fu-fresh)! I think it's called Gỏi Gă for the chicken one and Tôm Gỏi for the shrimp (sorry if I made a mistake with the accent marks). The best part is, it's often only about $4 or $5 for a massive plate of it, which leaves plenty of cash for iced coffee!
posted by vorfeed at 12:17 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho Bich N'ga is in Vancouver, BC... also home to Pho King Bich. Mmm, soup. Piles of sprouts, lime, and basil make it great.
posted by anthill at 12:21 PM on January 10, 2007


I don't want to be exposed to anise.
posted by dobbs at 12:22 PM on January 10, 2007


After a ten-year obsession with pho, I visited Vietnam last year, in part to try the "real" thing. During my two weeks sampling pho EVERY DAY in Hanoi, Saigon and various points in between, I was pleased to conclude that nearly all pho joints here in the US are very authentic. The primary Americanization seems to be that instead of serving accompanying slices of fresh chilies, Vietnamese restaurants here provide Sriracha and Tương Ớt (Chili Garlic) sauces from Huy Fong foods - which is an American brand founded by by a Vietnamese immigrant. I love those sauces in my pho just fine, but the fresh chilis are where it's at!
posted by MaxVonCretin at 12:23 PM on January 10, 2007


Tripe and tendon is very yummy. Brisket is close, texture wise. Vietnamese (and many other Asian cuisine) meatballs are polymerized by stirring which give them that 'crunchy' texture. Fish/squid balls are also quite good.

I love bruising the fresh sweet basil and fresh squeezed lime juice really complements the rice noodle.

Still haven't figured out the exact recipe for the fried spring-roll dip except that there's fish sauce in it.

There's also quite a bit to commend Vietnamese subs (sandwiches), too.
posted by porpoise at 12:25 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho Xe Lua, no tendon no tripe.

Sure you could get the Dac Biet, but you get the flavor of the tendon/tripe without having to actually eat them.
posted by cmicali at 12:26 PM on January 10, 2007


#porpoise: Still haven't figured out the exact recipe for the fried spring-roll dip

Could iti be this?
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 12:32 PM on January 10, 2007


I love bruising the fresh sweet basil

Hott!
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 12:34 PM on January 10, 2007


Absolutely addictive.

I love the dry Pho, on a bed of cold cooked vermicelli noodles ]rice based[, with the salad type stuff ]julienned, + sprouts etc[ underneath, topped with hot grilled pork, no broth, topped liberally with the hot sauce.

Did I mention how addictive it is¿ I swear they add a ton of sugar there somewhere, why else can I not resist when I walk by the Vietnamese place then¿

Funny there's a Taco Bell across the street too ]Toronto[. Yes the names are funny, Pho Hung, Pho Pasteur... some are open serving all night and I've seen families at all odd hours.
posted by alicesshoe at 12:40 PM on January 10, 2007


Great post! I love pho, but didn't know any of the history. But as for "Turns out it's not an ancient dish, but a 1950s-era syncretic product of the French occupation of Vietnam," your very first link says:

Phở was born in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. The dish was heavily influenced by both Chinese and French cooking. [My emphasis.]
posted by languagehat at 12:41 PM on January 10, 2007


I've had Pho countless times, but only at a single restaurant (the various Pho Pasteur's around Boston), so I really don't have anything else to compare it to.

But I will certainly agree with "Pho is life" as well as equating it with sex (I guess, especially considering that my favorite is Bo Vien - beef balls).

Porpoise - thanks for the info as to how the balls get that amazing texture!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:45 PM on January 10, 2007


Oh yes..in my excitement, I forgot to add:

Great post! Going to make sure I get pho for dinner!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:46 PM on January 10, 2007


I meant the variation we all know, with sprouts and lime atnd herb garnishes - developments apparently added after the 1954 partition.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:47 PM on January 10, 2007


That was to L-hat.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:48 PM on January 10, 2007


btw, for experienced pho eaters-- the pho places around here offer a lot of uhm, 'unusual' cuts of meat in pho-- tripe and various other organs and whatnot. Are any of them actually good to eat or should i just stick with like 'flank steak'

At Pho 75 I get #1 large, which has it all. Tendon, tripe, brisket, flank...get it all!
posted by fixedgear at 12:50 PM on January 10, 2007


Man, you tripe and tendon wussies don't know what you are missing out on. Granted, I had to be stoned and convinced by my Vietnamese friend that all that "and more" would have been served by his moms before trying it in my pho, but I've never looked back. Tendon is kind of glutenousy as cooked in pho, tripe is definately a textural extravaganza if you can unload your cultural baggage on the subject. Neither alone has much flavor but add interesting components to the dish.

Same friend also touched on the "train bowl" subject sort of ham-handedly dealt with here: his claim was that it dated back to the days of rail travel when journeys were long and accomodations on the train short in coming. One was well-advised to eat hearty before the trip, hence "train bowl".

As for for the pronunciation, chances are unless you've got some tonal language background in your past, "fuh" is going to sound about as correct as "foe". The "uh" is definately on an uptick, almost a question.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:53 PM on January 10, 2007


Mmmmm, Pho 75. Perhaps I'll go there for dinner.
posted by kdar at 12:55 PM on January 10, 2007


If you live north of Boston, Pho 99 is a great little place in Malden.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:01 PM on January 10, 2007


I remember the first time I had it I thought it tasted like dirt. Turns out it's the cilantro in it.

Maybe sans cilantro I could deal with this.
posted by jeblis at 1:06 PM on January 10, 2007


yum - I had pho last night - the version with vegetarian egg rolls on top of rice vermicelli, with fresh cucumber, bean sprouts and other crunchy greens underneath - delicious! In Richmond, Virginia, the best place is Pho So 1
posted by crepeMyrtle at 1:08 PM on January 10, 2007


i usually get the #12. it's the #12 in about 90% of pho places. they must all use the same menu.
posted by probablysteve at 1:11 PM on January 10, 2007


I say it's spinach, and to hell with it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:13 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Anyone got any downtown Manhattan pho recommendations? I've been meaning to try this stuff for quite some time, and I think this thread is just the impetus I need to finally make it happen.
posted by saladin at 1:23 PM on January 10, 2007


Hmmm, by downtown, I actually mean Village/LES/Chinatown area.
posted by saladin at 1:25 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho2000 is where it's at (at least in los angeles).
posted by veritas que at 1:32 PM on January 10, 2007


saladin, there are Vietnamese joints all over Chinatown and I've never had a bad pho. Do yourself a favor and try it. I guarantee you'll love (unless you have that weird cilantro problem.)


Now if only I could find a place that serves both pho and bahn mi. It's always one or the other - never both.
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:38 PM on January 10, 2007


Downtown Manhattan...

Thai Son on Baxter south of Canal is next door to both Nha Trang and Pho Pasteur.

I personally think that Thai Son is the best of the three, but it seems to flip back and forth between Thai Son and Nha Trang -- whoever wins a Cheap Eats award from one of the mags/newspapers locally tends to go down in quality as more people go..

pho xe lua is where it's at.
posted by fet at 1:38 PM on January 10, 2007


crepeMyrtle: I used to live in Richmond, and my family still does...where is Pho So 1? Send me an email if you're still around this post...
posted by taliaferro at 1:42 PM on January 10, 2007


Yes, I am hooked on Rice Noodle Soup, both the Vietnamese take on it (pho), and the Thai version (guyteo nam gai, etc?).

Lucky Melbourne has a massive array of excellent Vietnamese restaurants (they line one side of Victoria Street, Richmond) so a big bowl is never far away, starting at about $7.

In Thailand nothing like a small bowl of guyteo with lots of chilli for breakfast at a streetside stall in the shade for a good start to the day.

In the Vietnamese version you get a lemon to add zing, and fresh chillis to add with the fish sauce.. while in Thailand generally you get dried chilli, vinigar with chilli, plus sugar and nuts to add flavour.

Picture of guyteo here
posted by zog at 1:44 PM on January 10, 2007


I'm fully convinced that when I die, I'll know I'm in heaven cos there'll be a huge, steaming bowl of pho there, tripe and all. Pho tickles all my senses; the aroma of beef and basil, the crunch of the tripe and the bean sprouts, the taste -- my God, the TASTE!

No diggity. No doubt.

Pair that with a tall glass of Vietnamese iced coffee and I'm beyond heaven.
posted by poq at 1:44 PM on January 10, 2007


I miss the stuff... Been vegetarian for about 6 years now, and there is no replacement for it. Has anyone ever been able to make a reasonable veggie version?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:51 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho Van in Portland is one of my favorite places to eat EVER. Also the 7 courses of beef is pretty darn tasty.
posted by yodelingisfun at 1:53 PM on January 10, 2007


anyone know if this stuff is actually good for you?

certainly rare beef can't be. what kind of noodles are they?
posted by tu11ym0n at 1:58 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho's some tasty stuff, no question about it, but just to sound a contrarian note, I've always thought of bun cha as the real culinary star of Vietnam.

Marinated grilled pork over vermicelli, often with cut-up deep-fried spring rolls. Another Hanoi specialty - I went to the same-hole-in-the-wall joint in Hanoi every other day when I was there back in '99. Place was always packed to overflowing at lunch. You didn't have to order; it was the only thing they served. You wouldn't have wanted anything else. A buck fifty for a meal and a half-litre bottle of great beer.

Damn, I miss Hanoi.
posted by gompa at 2:01 PM on January 10, 2007


Ack! I went to check the Pho finder for somehwere local and it misled me, coming up with a surgeon named Pho Ba Da, Md.

Great post and I am craving pho madly now! Gotta find a good seafood only version or recipe!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:05 PM on January 10, 2007


tu11ym0n: it's pretty low calorie in the incantations I've had, depending of course on the kind of meat you use. The rice noodles are positively empty calories, with no fiber either, but I ate this often as I lost weight because it comes in big, hot, satisfying bowls. My estimate was 400-500 calories with 3 oz. lean meat. If making it at home, I would totally add spinach and carrots to get some more nutrition.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:10 PM on January 10, 2007


But why the hell can't you get it in the UK? I've said it before and I'll say it again - Vietnamese food is the thing I miss most about Canada.

My mouth waters just reading this thread.
posted by Flashman at 2:16 PM on January 10, 2007


Great post.
posted by bardic at 2:19 PM on January 10, 2007


Downtown Manhattan: either Doyers Street or Pho Tu Do.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 2:22 PM on January 10, 2007


CunningLinguist writes "Now if only I could find a place that serves both pho and bahn mi."

Man, bahn mi. The best two dollars you'll ever spend on lunch.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:23 PM on January 10, 2007


Flashman - What part of the UK? Theres some pretty good (and cheap!) places in London. Viet Ahn in camden was my reguar spo.
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on January 10, 2007


(I obviously spend too much time here, because I read "bahn mi" as "ban me" and all of a sudden want to drop c-bombs in an FPP about fat people not getting circumcised.)
posted by bardic at 2:37 PM on January 10, 2007


certainly rare beef can't be.

It's sliced wafer thin and cooks in the broth.
posted by fixedgear at 2:44 PM on January 10, 2007


OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

i'm vietnamese, so my blood is made of pho. now i'm starving.

thanks so much for posting this, i had no idea pho had such a great following outside of vietnamese culture!
posted by modernsquid at 2:46 PM on January 10, 2007


Crepe, based on your description, you didn't have Pho. You had Bun.

Which is also great.
posted by rokusan at 2:53 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho and bun are two of the best things I've found about moving to Seattle. I'd never even heard of the stuff until about 4 years ago, and it just so happened that a place had opened up in the Chicago suburbs near where I lived that served pho - when I finally got to try it, I totally understood what people were saying.

Then to move to Seattle and find that there are quite a few Vietnamese places around... wonderful! Never a shortage of good places to eat pho. I also discovered the rice noodle bowls - bun - over a summer, and found they're just about the warm weather equivalent to pho, also very tasty, and cool you down the way pho warms you up in the winter.

Pho is so good that even though I have almost completely given up beef, I never even considered giving up pho. Can't do it. And the non-beef variants just aren't the same.
posted by evilangela at 2:57 PM on January 10, 2007


Damn! Thanks CL.
posted by Dick Paris at 2:59 PM on January 10, 2007


WinnipegDragon --

I miss the stuff... Been vegetarian for about 6 years now, and there is no replacement for it. Has anyone ever been able to make a reasonable veggie version?

Here's a piece I wrote a while back, with a link to this recipe which works quite well. (Pardon the goofy photo.)
posted by laze at 3:02 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ugh. Just the phrase "non-beef variant" makes me sad. I have no problems with vegetarians (a few with vegans), but sorry -- if you won't eat meat, there are a number of delicacies that you can never ever replicate. Even if you take the pieces of meat out of a good pho, it's all about the broth -- the liquid essence of the cow.

Mmm. I predict pho in my near future.
posted by bardic at 3:03 PM on January 10, 2007


my single favorite food in the world. delicious, nutritious and all around wonderful. no other comfort food comes close.

and who the hell serves it with spinach or lemons? lime, sawleaf, chiles and viet basil forever. i never understood the deal with the giant mound of beansprouts ... good to snack on while you wait for your soup, i guess, but i never liked them in the soup too much - detracts from the purity and sublime subtlety of a really good broth. same with more than a little dot of sriracha.

this alone is a great argument against vegetarianism. and thanks for linking to me in the FPP!
posted by luriete at 3:12 PM on January 10, 2007


Heh. I had no idea. Hi luriete!

(I like the sprouts for crunch, since I am too wussy to order the apparently crunchy tripe.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2007


A nice presentation on making Pho.
posted by knave at 3:14 PM on January 10, 2007


The above link potentially NSFW.
posted by knave at 3:20 PM on January 10, 2007


I miss the stuff... Been vegetarian for about 6 years now, and there is no replacement for it. Has anyone ever been able to make a reasonable veggie version?

It wouldn't be pho, but you could make a soup that's good in its own right replacing the beef broth with a hearty mushroom broth. If you wanted to omit the fish sauce that would be more difficult, it's so packed full of glutimate that pure MSG would be about the only substitute. Soy sauce and miso have too much of their own unique flavor.
posted by TungstenChef at 3:27 PM on January 10, 2007


knave, i'm cracking up here.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:29 PM on January 10, 2007


I also love alicesshoe's "dry pho" variant... but like many I'm a total tripe-and-tendon wuss. Unlike my boyfriend who goes absolutely nuts over the stuff (the more the better, apparently!)

We tried a place in Melbourne called Mekong last week, which made great Pho with "the lot" (marrow, tendon, tripe, brisket, etc.), and here in Brisbane we often head off to a place in West End for it.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 3:56 PM on January 10, 2007


Pho Van (an old Portland Mercury review)

I agree with yodelingisfun. The folks that own the restaurants (I believe there are 3 now) are good people too. Pho will cure the common cold, best medicine ever. Pho Ga (chicken) is good as well, be sure to ask for extra lime...
posted by Jikido at 5:33 PM on January 10, 2007


The best pho I've ever had was at Minh's Bakery in Pullman, Washington near the WSU campus. I took a Vietnamese classmate there once and she said it was just like home.
posted by BarePaw at 5:40 PM on January 10, 2007


Is there any vegetarian pho/variant worth bothering for?
posted by duende at 5:42 PM on January 10, 2007


I tried Pho the other day, to see what the hype was all about. Ended up doubled up on my bed when I wasn't evacuating massive amounts of liquid from various orafices. Friends of mine tried pho at different restaraunts and ended up sick also.

So, is pho like sex? In my experience, yes.
posted by The Power Nap at 6:04 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Nice post - I am going to try and make it this weekend.
posted by vronsky at 6:05 PM on January 10, 2007


Regarding pronunciation, it's pretty typical to hear people refer to it as 'pho' (as in 'photon'). Note that the spelling is actually phở. Because English is atonal, it's hard for us to understand a (pardon me) phoneme that has a falling tone. It isn't pronounced 'fuh' as in 'fuhk', but it's approximately the easiest way for anglophones to pronounce it.

Consider the word 'bag' or 'orange' in American English. You'll hear different pronunciations for both in Alabama, Minnesota, and California (probably at least a couple different ones in California, too).

The same is true for 'pho' in Viet Nam. We prefer our pho from northern joints, such as one locally from Ha Tay, which has both its own distinct pronunciation and recipe. We also live in DC, though, and it's possible to find regionally prepared pho here. I just spent a couple weeks in San Diego, and to my horror, not only did the place take credit (it is not an authentic pho joint if they take credit), but they completely murdered the soup, everywhere. I don't imagine there are many places (although Boston is one, Honolulu another) where one can obtain different styles of pho. And, of course, pronunciations.

Lastly, I promise I'm not on crack. You can check out the A Cook's Tour episode in Viet Nam (which may be a separate episode from the one in Cambodia, I forget), in which Tony gets authentic pho — cold (there is of course the book). He's discussed it in numerous interviews, as well, and has listed it as one of the "desert island" foods, along with a particularly simple linguine and sashimi.

Okay, actually, one more thing. On preview, I see a lot of people suggesting they'd make it at home. It's not especially possible to do. Our favorite place locally has a 150k BTU stove they use to prepare stock for the soup. One closer to home has a stove which is only 50k BTU, and the difference is remarkable. Most of us don't have that kind of equipment at home. So do yourself a favor, and support your local asian. It's only $7.

One must truly become a scholar of food before one can enjoy it fully. :)
posted by avriette at 6:36 PM on January 10, 2007


MonkeySaltedNuts - Could iti be this?

Lime juice. I gotta try adding lime juice.

CunningLinguist, I've had bad pho. In Iowa. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I've never even considered vegetarian pho. Is the broth vegetable based? The secret to good pho is the broth; the best have been cooking continuously for years with bits of animals. I'll have to give vegetarian a try.
posted by porpoise at 6:40 PM on January 10, 2007


Any suggetions for the Seattle crowd? It is just about everywhere around here, the Tham brothers are pretty good in my experience, especially the cream pastrys they give for dessert, but as a newish resident of the city (only 9 months) was wondering if there was any dyed in the wool consensious on the best Pho in the city. Specifically on capitol hill, because now I am hungry and willing to go investigate.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:50 PM on January 10, 2007


Tripe is indeed tripe. Eww.

Phở seems to be a rather syncretic dish, if what said above is true.
posted by oxford blue at 7:21 PM on January 10, 2007


Don't forgot pho's sister soup, bun bo hue. The spicy lemongrass broth is perfect for those cold winter lunches.
posted by snickerdoodle at 7:45 PM on January 10, 2007


A nice presentation on making Pho.
posted by knave at 6:14 PM EST on January 10 [+]
[!]


That link was posted in the Blue a year ago or so... and deleted for being some kind of racist. I still maintain that if you get all the foreign-language food jokes, it's fucking hilarious. And not at the expense of Asians or Vietnamese.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2007


mrzarquon: I found it very hard to find Pho in Redmond, but I didn't try down in the city. I used to eat at What the Pho when I was out there. It's on 8th St, but from the Google map, it looks like it's gotten pretty bad reviews. I was last out there in December of 05. Also, from looking at the map, there are a bunch of new places, including one at Redmond Town Center, which has a pretty good Indian place upstairs across from the Marriott.

porpoise: pho is beef noodle soup. There are chicken varieties, curried varieties, different noodles, and so on. In this regard, it's something like hummus in the middle east: everyone has their own preparation. The problem with using a vegetable broth is that it won't have as much flavor. You might be able to get away with using vegetable broth and msg, or lots of onion, etc. It wouldn't really be the same. Perhaps you're looking for saimin? It's a little more flexible. There are also udon/ramen preparations which are vegetarian.
posted by avriette at 7:50 PM on January 10, 2007


I still maintain that if you get all the foreign-language food jokes, it's fucking hilarious. And not at the expense of Asians or Vietnamese.

Indeed, it was sent to me by my Chinese friend. Some people need to relax.
posted by knave at 7:58 PM on January 10, 2007


Tripe isn't that bad, but it's not all that flavorful either. Tender buttery slices of tendon that have been simmering for hours--that's where it's really at.

Pho 79 or Pho Tau Bay ("Airplane Pho") in Minneapolis are my spots. I'm told there are great places in St. Paul too, on University Avenue, but that's beyond my lunch radius.

Another sort-of related possibility in Minneapolis is Hong Kong Noodles by the U of M campus. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of possible combinations of broth and noodles, as well as a monster selection of regular Chinese items and daily specials. I usually get shrimp soup with fun noodles--simple and delicious. Tough to get a lunch table when school's in session, though.

Want to try something a little different at a pho restaurant? Order the mi vit tiem: duck soup with egg noodles. Rich, hearty and wonderful. Definitely not lipitor-friendly, though.
posted by gimonca at 9:25 PM on January 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Pho 1 on Sepulveda in Van Nuys is my place. I tried the pho with clotted pork blood once. It had the consistency of jello and came in little cubes in the bowl. I don't remember the exact taste but it wasn't bad.
posted by euphorb at 9:33 PM on January 10, 2007


Zog, if you're paying $7 you're paying too much. Try Thy Thy 1, upstairs at 148 Victoria St.
posted by flabdablet at 9:37 PM on January 10, 2007


If you're in Northern VA or DC, The Eden Center at 7 corners has many a pho. And Four Sisters had been highly rated, but it seems their popularity has brought the quality down a bit according to recent reviews.
posted by shoepal at 9:52 PM on January 10, 2007


I wish I know how Than Bros in Seattle make their vegetarian pho, because it's damn good. Even carnivorous friends of mine agree that it is damn good. The flavor is strong and good and on a night like tonight (when I am snowed in!) a bowl of that would hit the spot for sure.
posted by litlnemo at 12:10 AM on January 11, 2007


Argh, that should be "I wish I knew how..."
posted by litlnemo at 12:10 AM on January 11, 2007


Adding the Kingsland Roadas the centre of all Pho goodness in London. I'm looking forward to changing jobs on Monday so I can get my Pho lunch going again at Au Lac.
posted by patricio at 2:33 AM on January 11, 2007


I see a lot of people suggesting they'd make it at home. It's not especially possible to do.

I have to agree with this. I've tried making it over the years - most recently another Pho Ga attempt yesterday - and I have all the right ingredients but it just never comes out right. I just wish I lived closer to Chinatown.
posted by poxuppit at 5:36 AM on January 11, 2007


shoepal, Pho 75 down Rt. 50 at Graham Road is my (and my very picky-eating daughter's) favorite in that area. They don't even bring us menus anymore. Plus, there's an excellent (and cheap) banh mi place right next door. I've been to most of the Eden Center places, and Pho 75 is still the winner!
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:59 AM on January 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


International Avenue in Calgary has about 6 Pho places to the block. This post convinced my to give them a try. Thanks CunningLinguist.
posted by Mitheral at 8:00 AM on January 11, 2007


If anyone really tries pho because of this post, will you let me know what you think? I just posted because I discovered the soup's history was interesting, but now I love the idea of spreading the soupy gospel.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:06 AM on January 11, 2007


Laze,

Thanks for the recipe! I'll give it a shot this weekend.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 9:50 AM on January 11, 2007


Mitheral: The place right across the street from the Co-op on International Ave (in the strip mall next to the excellent El Bombazo Latin Market, which does fantastic pupusas) is very good. Skip over Deerfoot to 9th Ave in Inglewood, though, for my preferred pho haunt: Pho Minh Chau. Or else Golden Bell across from Chinook Centre on Macleod. Both are sublime.

Also - shameless self-promotion - I recently landed a biweekly food-column gig with Swerve (the abysmal Herald's very good freebie Friday magazine), and I'll be doing a piece sometime in February about how Vietnamese joints are to Calgary as curry houses are to English cities. You know, if you're interested.
posted by gompa at 10:50 AM on January 11, 2007


Also, a question for anyone still reading: Ever heard of pho sate? This is pho with a broth flavoured in the manner of the peanutty dipping sauce generally associated with Indonesian sate. It's de rigueur in Calgary pho joints, but I don't recall seeing it elsewhere. I'm wondering if it is, like ginger beef, a local invention by Calgary's Vietnamese restauranteurs to cater to staid prairie tastes.
posted by gompa at 10:57 AM on January 11, 2007


I have to agree with this. I've tried making it over the years - most recently another Pho Ga attempt yesterday - and I have all the right ingredients but it just never comes out right. I just wish I lived closer to Chinatown.

You don't have enough BTU's on your kitchen stove (most mortals don't.)
posted by bardic at 11:21 AM on January 11, 2007


What kind of heat do you need? Propane powered turkey fryers and crab cookers are availalbe from ~100,000 BTU to 300,000BTU. You know, if your going to get serious.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 PM on January 11, 2007


In LA, my fave is a dive (aren't they all?) at the corner of Coldwater and Sherman Way in Van Nuys (or is that NoHo). I've had it in many places, but this one edges out the rest. Haven't tried it in Westminster, however, which is probably where the best in the US would be found (most disgraced generals per sq. mile in the world).
posted by johngumbo at 2:23 PM on January 11, 2007


Sadly, Pho Bich Nga changed owners and name some time last year, and a Vancouver landmark is no more.
posted by icathing at 2:46 PM on January 11, 2007


I think we should have a pho meet-up in DC.
posted by empath at 6:12 AM on January 12, 2007


Are there any pho shops that serve beer? A meet-up without beer is like, well, eating soup with people you met on the internet.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2007


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