How to eat Pho
Vietnam has a long history of being dominated by other cultures. Both the Chinese and the Indians have been in control of Vietnam, as have the French. Throughout these occupations the Vietnamese have stilled retained most of their own ways, thought you can see the influence on art, architecture and food.
Vietnamese food is a cross between Chinese and French food. Chinese because China is a neighbor, French because the French occupied Vietnam for many years. It can be spicy and heavy, and can have ingredients that seem strange to non-Asians. Sometimes one just wants comfort food.
Pho (pronounced Faa) is a Vietnamese soup that is pure comfort food. Basic Pho has a flavorful broth with noodles, and you can choose from a variety of types of beef or chicken. Types of beef used include meatballs, brisket, beef flank, tendon and tripe. Try all of them or order the vegetarian version. Either way you are in for a treat.
An order of Pho is served in a very large soup bowl. The bowl will be filled with broth and noodles. A side dish with limes, bean sprouts, fresh basil and mint leaves will be brought to you as well. Containers of hot sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce will already be on your table. Add side ingredients and sauces to taste. Try adding just a little at a time so you can decide how you most enjoy your Pho.
To eat Pho you will need both an Asian style ladle spoon, and a pair of chopsticks. As you add the side ingredients to your broth stir with the chopsticks and use the spoon to check the flavor that you have given your Pho. Do the same with the sauces. Once you have created your ideal concoction you well be ready to dig into your Pho.
When eating Pho most people alternate between drinking broth from the ladle, and eating the noodles with chopsticks. The noodles are very long, and not something that can be eaten in a traditional Western manner. Using the chopsticks lift a large quantity of noodles. Bite off the desired amount., chew and swallow, then repeat. When you are ready to take a break from the noodles use the spoon to drink some of the broth. Continue to add side ingredients as desired.
If you are ever in Vietnam be sure and pay a visit to Pho 24. This is the one chain restaurant found in Vietnam. The company claims that the 24 stands for 24 ingredients cooked for 24 hours served 24 hours a day. I don’t kow if this is true or not, but the Pho served there is no doubt just like Vietnamese mothers make.