Welcome to Pho Week! Every post this week is going to be related to the Vietnamese beef noodle soup, pho. What is it? An aromatic beef broth with thin rice noodles and your choice of toppings and usually garnished with a mixture of sliced onion, chopped cilantro and scallions. A MUST TRY FOR ANYONE.
Pho veterans, you can stop your reading here. Pho noobs listen up. For northern Virginia my top picks are Pho 75, Golden Cow, and Pho Royal (closer to Loudoun County). For those of you who don’t live in this area google “Pho near <your zip code>”. Once you’ve found your closest pho restaurant make plans to visit as soon as possible. DO NOT I repeat do not order pho from a Vietnamese restaurant, what you get will simply not cut it, just don’t do it.
- Pick your size bowl, either small (for most people) or large (for extra hungry people).
- Some menus will have both Vietnamese and English translations so you can pick your toppings depending on how adventurous you are. For the first-timers I’d recommend “Tai chin” which is eye round and brisket – simple and unintimidating.
- Your bowl will come with a topping of sliced onion, cilantro and scallions – if this doesn’t appeal to you this is the time to ask them to leave it out.
- Depending on your skills with chopsticks you may want to ask for a fork with your meal.
- When your bowl arrives take a good deep whiff, it should be aromatic and beefy.
- Taste the broth, good? Needs something? A little more flavor? Grab the hoisin sauce (the brown bottle). A little more heat? Grab the sriracha (the red bottle).
- You should also have a plate of beansprouts (crunch), lime (tartness), basil (flavor), and jalapeno (heat). For your first time I’d advise going simple and not adding all these items but if something catches your eye why not add a little?
- Dig in, feel free to add more accoutrements as you eat.
- How I take my pho: small, eye round with brisket (sometimes with meatballs), no onions and scallions, with a small hit of hoisin.
- The noodles should be chewy, the meats should be beefy, and the broth should just tie everything together. Nothing better on a cold day than a steaming bowl of pho.
- Word of note to those “carrying out”, combine the noodles and broth and add desired garnishes into a bowl for a tasty meal. My mother in law and godmother have been known to eat each item separately, which just won’t be as good.
I am so very excited to share this amazing dish with you. I promise you it will change your life.