Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Food for farmers, fit for kings.
It's Vietnamese hot noodle broth with beef or chicken, and it's called the "pho".
No, it's not pronounced "po", or "fo", or even "fur", and it's impossible to learn how to say it, without someone sitting in front of you to instruct the intonations and inflexions. (Yes, there are more than one intonation/inflexion just in that one brief word!)
It's soup is made with home-made beef or chicken stock. No fat or oil is added to that already drawn from the meats.
Herbs and spices include basil leaves, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seeds, ginger, lemongrass, nutmeg, sawgrass, scallions, shallots, sriracha and star anise.
The noodles or koay teow are immersed shortly before serving the broth, so as to retain the firmness of texture.
Fresh bean sprouts, chilli padi, lime, and fish sauce are served on the side.
Pho is, by any reckoning, humble food.
If you're in Saigon, try it at a small halal restaurant with the inappropriately grand name of "Four Seasons". I did, yesterday.
And it... was... DIVINE!