829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What the Pho?

Lucky me. This is what I had in front of me at
about 1:15 today. A bowlful of soul. A Vietnamese
dish called "pho", pronounced "fuh".
A rich, light-colored beef broth flavored with
charred onions and ginger, star anise,
cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, cloves,
and cardamon. In the kitchen,
they place a heap of cooked, warm
rice noodles in the bowl with
thinly sliced raw beef, beef navel which is
fatty meat from the brisket,
and shreds of cooked beef tripe. Wait,
it gets better! They then ladle piping hot broth
over the contents of the bowl to cook
the raw beef and warm everything else.
That is served with a dish on the side
piled with bean sprouts, a bunch of fresh thai basil,
jalapeno slices,scallions, and a lime wedge.
The idea is to add the sprouts, scallions,
hand-tear the basil leaves (all of them), squeeze the lime,
and throw the jalapeno slices in for good measure.
However, the actual heat of the dish
comes from the array of chile sauces on the table.
After a couple of spoons of the chile of your choice
you're ready to stir together and dig in.
Chopsticks do the trick for me, preventing me from
eating too fast. A spoon is also on the table, but if broth
is required, just lift up the bowl and slurp. My mouth
is watering again! This meal sticks with me for hours;
beside a small amount of fat from the
navel, it's quite a lean dish, but it satisfies
like no other bowl of noodles.

My back patio today at around 3:00. Okay,
the thermometer is in the direct sunlight,
but you get the picture. It was gorgeous
today and looks to be for the next several days.
We will ski in Vermont this weekend for the
last time this winter. Sunscreen will be mandatory.
There's that bottom paint smell again...you smell it?


  1. I love pho. Luckily, there are many places in the US where you can get it just like it's served in Vietnam.

  2. Lonnie: The pho pic is from Pho 99, my local(somewhat) Vietnamese spot. I understand there are many Vietnamese restaurants across the Potomac from you.