Pho is one of those bizarre phenomenons that seemed to me as if it popped up out of nowhere. One day everybody started raving about how fantastic it is and I felt a bit like a loser for having no clue what the hell they were talking about. Nevermind the fact that I also didn't really know the right way to pronounce it - "fo" (as in fe fi ) or "fuh" (rhymes with duh). In any case, a while back I dragged my husband to a local place to try this mystery dish that is revered by so many.
Now, for those of you that may have never tried it, Pho is a Vietnamese dish and while I haven't really tried the dry vermicelli noodle version yet, think of it as a big steaming bowl of broth with noodles, beef, and veggies. Ours was accompanied by a plate of beansprouts, jalapenos and some kind of leafy green (which I found out later are Thai basil leaves). The first time eating this, I had no idea what the exact protocol was so we decided to tip it all into the broth and go from there. This seemed to be a reasonable technique, and one that I think I'll be sticking to.
I definitely enjoyed that first meal but couldn't quite see myself having the mad craving for it that other people seem to get. Of course, the craving finally hit me over the last few weeks so last night, while husband was out for the evening, I headed on over to the local Pho joint, with a couple of photography magazines to entertain myself. I decided to go with the brisket because, as much as I am pretty adventurous with my food choices, I can't quite bring myself to order tripe. With the obligatory dips made from a mixture of chili and Hoisin sauces, I had a fine time chowing down and left with a satisfied stomach and a glistening brow from the steam rising off the soup bowl. (A filling meal and a spa facial for the bargain price of $6?!) I wouldn't consider myself a pho-natic but at least I think I "get it" now.