Market 790 xxx
photo by george billard

10.22.10 What The Pho

This seductive soup is pronounced "fuh," like the word for fire in French. I had wanted to post a gorgeous "pho"-to of a big, steaming bowl of it, but we ate the entire pot before I got the chance. So instead, here's one of a woman in the market in Saigon scarfing down this wonderful national dish. Pho is traditionally eaten for breakfast in Vietnam, but it goes down like a charm for lunch and dinner, too. It's great stuff for cold weather eating, but that doesn't prevent South East Asians from having it in the raging heat. A rich but clear beef broth, infused with star anise, clove, cinnamon and ginger, it is traditionally served with slices of raw sirloin, shallots, bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, mint, lots of slippery, chewy rice noodles, a squeeze of lime and maybe some chile. It's not so complicated; mostly, it just takes time. I love how you char ginger and onions directly over the flame of your burner; it imparts just a hint of smokiness that is very reminiscent of outdoor cooking in Asia. As with all stocks, you make this ahead so you can skim off the fat, and it's quite a healthful and nourishing dish because of the good nutrition from bones. Of course, I urge you to make this with meat from a happy cow, please. For its sake, and for yours.
Tagged — rice noodles