Pho is my favorite. I’m a pho fan. Pho sho’. Even if the name didn’t feel funny and sound delightful to my decidedly American tongue and ears, I’d still love it.
I’ve been on the Pho bandwagon for quite a while now, but the Norsk just recently hopped on this past December when we traveled to Vietnam with my family.
During our week-long stay in Vietnam, we must have had pho almost every day–and sometimes twice! It’s hard to imagine how a piping hot bowl of soup can be refreshing in 90 degree weather, but it truly is. Go to Vietnam and try it…but until then, you can just take our word for it.
Nothing can beat the pho at Pho 2000 in Saigon, but since it takes a good 24+ hours of travel from Atlanta just to get there, I’ll settle for Vn Pho, which is only about a 20 minutes drive from my front door. But today it took longer. Much longer (thank you traffic). And we were hungry. And impatient.
And perhaps a little delirious.
Vn Pho doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, but on the inside… it’s actually pretty nice.
But on to the food…
For starters, we had fresh spring rolls. I don’t think the Norsk was a fan. He was expecting something deep fried.
Me? I personally prefer these. I love being able to taste each of the flavors individually–the basil is distinct from the rice noodles and the shrimp and it’s all wrapped tightly together in a cool rice papper wrapper. Like a little, colorful present. Bliss, I tell you.
But we didn’t come here for the spring rolls. We came here for this:
Big, steaming bowls of hearty goodness.
The secret to pho is in the broth. Good pho broth is made by boiling nuckle or leg bones with spices in water for a LOOOOONG time. Like 12 or 14 hours long. Talk about a commitment. And this is my favorite part: Can you see how clear the broth is? Rather than just throwing ground up spices into the pot, they place them whole into a small cloth bag and drop the bag into the pot. This allows all the flavor to seep into the broth, leaving it clear, not cloudy with “spice dust.”
But moving on.
I stick to chicken pho out of habit, but you can order it with beef, pork, or tofu, as well. Whatever you do though, make sure you toss in plenty of basil leaves, a slice of pepper (just be careful not to accidentally eat it!), lemongrass, and a few sprouts.
You really can’t go wrong.
Oh, and make sure you slurp it up…this is no time for good table manners.