Pho Fo' Sho
The traditional Vietnamese noodle soup is a comforting classic
In keeping with the theme of stepping out of the comfort zone this week, let's talk about pho.
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup and my personal go to when I'm craving a big bowl of rich broth and noodles. It trumps the American chicken noodle soup by a long shot for me, and is my personal favorite if I'm feeling a little under the weather. The beauty of this Vietnamese tradition is that you control what goes into it.
Pho Ba: This version of the rice noodle soup is served with beef. We're not talking manageable little nibbles of savory meat here, by the way. I'm talking about big, size-of-your-hand pieces of thin cut beef set on top of your soup — usually rare to medium rare. You'll be reminded of roast beef. Side note: This is NOT something to order on a first date or any other meet up where you're looking to impress your guest. Eating this can get a little messy and may require a napkin tucked into your shirt.
Pho Ga: Unlike its beef alternative, this rendition of the noodle soup usually offers smaller, manageable pieces of chicken as the star of the dish. I have experienced some pho with big slices of chicken, but they have been few and far between.
Pho Tom: The seafood or shrimp-filled pho is a classic one. Not available at all restaurants, but definitely worth checking out if you stumble upon it.
Of course there are numerous other combinations of fish, meatballs, tendon, tripe, flank, tofu, and even crab. It all depends upon which restaurant you visit and which protein you're in the mood for. Now, the fun part:
Fixin's: Fixin's for your pho are usually brought on giant plate to your table and most often include bean sprouts, cilantro, mint, basil, Thai purple basil, and scallions. I've also seen fresh jalapenos, fish sauce, vinegar, sriracha, and soy sauce.
But no matter what you choose; whether its beef and flank steak, shrimp or even chicken (topped with jalapenos and hot sauce maybe) you won't go wrong with the customizable Vietnamese treat.