How To Eat Phở Like A Pro On A Vietnamese Culinary Tour
Phở (pronounced “fuh”) is a dish synonymous with Vietnamese comfort food, and the dietary staple has swept the American food scene like a firestorm over the last several years. Rarely do you find a major city without at least one reliable phở restaurant, a place that savvy foodies seek out to satisfy their hunger. But, to truly understand the roots of phở and to enjoy it like a local, you must hop on a plane and taste it in Vietnam! Our Vietnam tour is the perfect way to explore the allure of South Eastern Asian cuisines, and we think you should absolutely include a traditional phở in that adventure.
Believed to have emerged in the 18th century, phở is a brothy soup with wide rice noodle, a variety of meats, herbs, and vegetables you add by hand after receiving your meal. This dish is as much an interactive event as soul-nourishing food. The word phở actually refers to the wide rice noodles served in the fragrant broth, and not the dish as a whole. As you travel throughout Vietnam’s culinary regions you will encounter many noodle types, compositions of vegetables, and meats preferred.
Phở begins with an outstanding broth. Without this pool of flavor, phở would simply be boiled noodles. Some regions of Vietnam have a sweet broth, some a saltier one. We suggest you taste test at every chance you get! Many Vietnamese locals will eat phở for breakfast, which we think is brilliant – saving more meals of the day for cooking tours and classes, and taste-testing even more Vietnam culinary delights.
When you receive your bowl of phở, there will most likely only be noodles and your choice of meat added. Herbs and vegetables round out the flavors of the broth and are added by hand by the eater. Mint, basil, cilantro, green onion, ginger…the list goes on. You put in what makes you happy. Chili paste, plum sauce, and soy sauce may also be drizzled in.
Once you’ve compiled your meal, the challenge of eating it is upon you. We love what writer Matt Rodbard says in his piece for FoodRepublic.com, detailing his recommendations on properly eating this iconic dish. “How to eat phở: I’m right-handed, so I’ll take you through my process. The bowl arrives. Plastic chopsticks in right hand, soup spoon in left. Sip the broth first (I stress this because it’s important) while you work the noodles with your chopsticks. It’s OK, even preferred, that you stick your face into the bowl while slurping. You get a hit of those aromatics while avoiding a messy splatter. Once the noodles are gone (they usually go first), raise the bowl to your lips with both hands and polish it off. This is not impolite. This is how you finish a bowl of phở — like a child would finish a bowl of Apple Jacks. Both are great in the morning.”