Pho or Phở?

by Ed Lau on December 9, 2006

If I had to eat one thing for the rest of my life, one of the things on my short list would be Pho. Most people, including me, say it like “faux” but the actual pronunciation is more like “fuuhh”.  Actually, more like you’re asking a question so…”fuuhh?”  For those of you not baptized in Vietnamese cuisine, Pho is basically rice noodles with various types of meat, usually very thin slices of steak or slightly thicker slices of flank. However, it is not uncommon to see tripe, tendon, meatballs or even chicken.

Pho is possibly one of the world’s few perfect foods, great for meat lovers everywhere although it usually contains onions, basil, coriander and lime. While it may seem easy to make a bowl of rice noodles with beef, the thing that separates the awesome bowls of pho from the crap is the broth, which is usually made from beef bones and boiled for hours.

John Chow and I usually go to our favorite Pho place, Pho Lan, in Richmond each Saturday. It’s a rather small restaurant across from our city hall and features some of the best pho in the city. It is operated by a guy we call “The Pho Nazi”, due to the unusually angry way he talks. Don’t be scared though…once you get used to him (and vice versa) he’s a cool guy and although he never quite stops being angry, he will take your order and converse with you more often. I’ve been coming to this place for years so I have a kind of…seniority and most of the staff recognize me. I’m sure John gets the same.

Pho would not quite be complete without the excellent spring rolls they have here. Those of you who have had Chinese spring rolls will probably enjoy these more. Vietnamese spring rolls are fried till they’re very crispy and they come with a delicious sweet and sour dip with shreds of carrot in it.

Vietnamese iced coffee is another highlight of any pho place. You will never have a stronger cup of coffee than a Vietnamese iced coffee. My friend Carl wrote something on how to make it on his blog here.

There are various types of Pho but that’s an entry for another day. You really can’t go wrong with a nice, steaming hot bowl of Pho during the cold winter months.

in Food and Fine Dining

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiltak December 10, 2006 at 6:02 am

Ack, tripe, tendon?

Man that’S gross. A few years back, I had a chinese girlfried who ate pork ears and knee cartilage marinated in vigegar.. and it wasn’t that bad, but tripes..

Man, just thinking of this makes me want to puke :)


Gdog December 10, 2006 at 2:25 pm

Keep the food posts coming. I’m hungry.


Michael Kwan December 10, 2006 at 2:42 pm

I have to agree. Pho has got to be one of the most satisfying, most perfect (and cheap) foods out there to enjoy. I also enjoy the vermicelli bowls with the barbeque meat. The odd salad roll is pretty good too.


Kim December 20, 2006 at 9:31 am

The dirtier the establishment, the better.


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