Home > My Everyday Life > are you phở-king serious?

are you phở-king serious?

Yes its real

This is of course a rhetorical question, a question about phở.

Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has got to be one of the cleanest, most flavor-packed soups in the world. For those without ANY worldly culture, phở is pronounced “fa.” Of course, I kid, don’t take offense. Phở, at least truly great, authentic phở, is something rare to find in most places so I am hoping to educate here.

Today, my roommates and I experimented in this little known world of phở preparation and I have to say for our virgin effort, we knocked it out of the park!! I would like to think that I am a phở-snob. I had my first experience in Hawaii after a long night’s worth of Korean BBQ and soju. Waking to the thought of soup wasnt too appealing to me at first, but after sitting in this tiny, white-walled shack of a place and smelling what I smelled, I was game for something new. I was immediately hooked when they brought out a pale full of rich soup and all the fixings. Since that day, I have been in love. I have only had phở as good as Hawaii’s once since. It was in China Town in NYC with Jax. It was an accidental find and we don’t remember the name of the place, but we are both committed to finding it again. It was THAT good. I have had it several other times, but nothing compared to the first. I exposed Nick to it last year and as fall slowly creeps into the Northeast, phở has been a topic of conversation. Hence our experiments in home-brew.

again. I love their humor

To remedy the fact that Nick and I needed a phở-ix, Michelle looked up a recipe online and we gave it a shot. When I came home and opened the door, I was flung back to that little shack in Hawaii and so pleased to be in my apartment. First bite said it all, we almost nailed the broth on the first try!. I said to myself, “is this phở real, are you phở-king serious?” Nick replied, “phở sho!” Noodles were a little undercooked and the chicken was a little overcooked, but wow what a virgin performance. Everyone should be so lucky that they could perform this well their first time…their first time in anything people! We know our mistakes and how to fix them so next week we are try again.

(I have to pause and say “YES,” I am writing about soup for a second time in a week. I’m writing about it because its fall and its time for comfort food. I love mashed potatoes and the thought that I will soon be resting in a tryptophan induced slumber soon after filling my gullet with turkey and 6 helpings of the fixins. It’s that time to ward off the cold season with soups and other fally/wintry things. Since writing about Hoodledoop, I have caught much flack from my foodie friends who think that phở is the official soup of well…period. I would have to agree and that is why I am writing for a second time in a week about soup. Not just any soup, the pinnacle of soup.)

phở beef brisket

HIstory: It’s has connections to French and Chinese cuisine, but rumors date is back to almost a century ago in Vietnam. Considered a poor man’s meal bc of its simple nature, but revered throughout the world as a popular soup type for all classes in society. A long simmering, extremely spiced broth so clear and fat-free that it seems like it couldn’t possibly hold the flavor explosion that it does. One sip of the broth and your tongue is sent into a brain fart of all the flavors and aromas that its having to consider. Hints of ginger, cinnamon, coriander, anise, green onion, and more, don’t confuse the palette, rather take it by surprise and hold your senses for ransom. Once things calm down and your palette returns to its rightful owner, one is free to enjoy the delicate linguine sized, rice noodles and tender, thinly sliced meat of your choosing.

When served correctly, the author of this culinary tale is left to choose his or her own flavor adventure. Phở, the “choose your own adventure” of the soup world. I laughed at this one! (Please tell me that you remember those books from the 80s that you read so far and then were given a choice of two paths. The reader “chooses” their path and their adventure. This happens again, then again, paving multiple stories inside of one cover. I hope I am not dating myself here. Hell, this whole blog is about me turning 30 so screw it.) I digress. Choosing one’s adventure is part of the fun in the phở experience. First, you choose your broth and meat type. Beef brisket, chicken, ox tail, meatballs, shrimp, or tripe, it’s up to you. Then comes the fixins. Among the typical accoutrements of this delight are Thai basil, Thai chilis, bean sprouts, green onions, lemon or lime wedges, fish sauce, clam sauce, cock sauce (so aptly named for the rooster on its bottle AKA sriracha), hoisin sauce, or the dreaded cilantro. If you want to ruin this dish, drizzle in some cilantro and then kick yourself in the face for conjuring up a thunderstorm when you had golden sunshine. You might as well eat phở with a brillo pad soaking in it, phở shame.

the legend

I recommend tasting all the additives separately before placing them in the soup. Once you understand the palette of flavor colors before you, you can skillfully craft a masterpiece of flavor the likes of Picasso’s blue period or Monet’s “Starry Night”. I like to picture Bob Ross in the kitchen adding “happy little trees” of Thai basil with splashes of lemon and cock sauce for heat. A broth-laiden canvas of artistry any true foodie can love.

If your curiosity is piqued and your stomach now grumbling, use the interwebs to find a highly rated phở dealer and test drive some. My stepdad and I have actually driven all the way from HagerVegas to College Park MD (almost an hour) to have a bowl. That’s dedication phở real. last phở joke I swear.

  1. christina
    January 18, 2012 at 15:10

    if you don’t watch the league, you won’t get this. but it’s still amazing. http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/740/3qqcp.jpg/sr=1

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