When we announced we were moving to Vietnam one of the most common responses was
I LOVE Vietnamese food!
Whereas that is a pretty general statement as there is A LOT to choose from, one of the things they are most often thinking of is Phở. We’re going to start of with pronunciation. It is not pronounced “foe”but sounds more like “fu-uh” – yes, two syllables. Think of it like you are saying fuh when someone pinches your arm or like a singer starting out in a lower note and then trying to reach higher. I know it doesn’t sound like a big deal but in a tonal language if you pronounce something incorrectly it could literally mean five other words. (Although I get around it by just pointing at what I want and grunting – which I learned by age 2 when my nickname was literally “grunt”).
Next we’ll learn a little more about this dish. This rice noodle soup originated in the Northern part of Vietnam where they eat it at any point of the day. Down South, where I live, it’s more popular for breakfast and can still be eaten at lunch – which is what I did because I really like cereal for brekky. The two main versions are chicken and beef (two words I learned VERY quickly) and served with a side of bean sprouts, mint, chilis, lime and an assortment of sauces to add to your liking. I prefer tossing in as many veggies as possible as it enhanced the soups fresh taste, Robbo added in chils in an attempt to burn his lips off. For our first Pho visit we walked to a nearby eatery only a block away. The entire street is lined with Pho joints so I’m sure we’ll just make our way down with each trip. Our meal of two orders of Pho and two bottles of water cost 90,000 VND (or $4.50 USD). I was impressed with the simplicity of the kitchen needing to make this soup. Only a burner and a few pots and bowls were necessary. It just goes to show you don’t need big, bright and fancy to make a big impact on your tastebuds!