Phở is both a traditional specialty of Vietnamese cuisine. It is usually served for breakfast or dinner. However, in some big cities, people enjoy phở all throughout the day. Vietnamese phở officially got its place in the Oxford dictionary, becoming a famous dish in many large countries such as America, Hong Kong, Korea, Australia, Canada, among many others.
- What are the most popular kinds of phở?
In Vietnam, “Phở” is simply the name given to any dish using ‘phở noodles’ as the main ingredient. Nevertheless, we can divide phở into 3 main dishes:
* Put phở noodles, meat, herbs, and spices in a big bowl and your broth into it, submerging the contents and you have phở nước.
* Stir-fry phở noodles with meat and herbs and you have phở xào.
* Fry phở noodles in hot cooking oil until they become brown and crisp and then add spices and you have phở áp chảo.
- How should we enjoy a bowl of phở?
Five basic ingredients combine to make phở. These include phở rice noodles, meat, broth, herbs, and spices. Each ingredient must be just right: fresh phở noodles, good-quality meat, hot broth, fresh herbs, and proper spices.
It is important to know how to eat phở properly. Phở only tastes good if eaten out of a china bowl, not a glass or plastic one. The bowl should neither be too big nor too small. If it is too small, the broth will cool very fast and there will not be enough space for the meat, herbs, and spices. If the bowl is too large, then you may lose your appetite before you finish, for phở is only meant to be a light meal or side dish.
When eating phở, use a pair of chopsticks with one hand and a spoon in the other. Bamboo chopsticks are the most suitable because they are simple and not too slippery for clipping the noodles. Good phở restaurants often have simple furniture. A phở table should be a little lower than the normal one so that the broth will not drip onto your clothes when you bend down to lift the long phở noodles to your mouth.
You will look odd if you drink beer or cold tea while eating phở. However, you may be tolerated if you try to increase your phở appetite with a small cup of Vietnamese rice moonshine. Nevertheless, the normal practice is not to have drinks or any other food when eating phở – you’ll enjoy it all the more this way.
You need some good insight in order to select a good phở restaurant from among the many available. You can refer some of the following tips below:
1. If you choose a phở-only restaurant, you stand a better chance of enjoying an authentic bowl of phở.
2. Take a quick look into the pot used for stewing the beef bones. The more bones, the better quality of the broth. For this reason, good phở stalls usually use a pot about one meter tall and heated on a big coal stove even though this makes the cooking area very hot.
3. Judge the restaurant by the pieces of meat hanging from racks in front of the chef. No steam should be rising from the meat since cooked beef is good only when it is cool. The best draw beef should be lean without any fat. Also, its color should look deep red and shiny at the cuts. The chicken should be from pure Vietnamese breeds raised in the natural environment. The skin must be bright yellow, the meat a dark pink and not fibrous, and there should be no fat beneath the skin.
4. Check to see the way the chef handles phở noodles. A good chef steeps phở noodles in boiling water to make them hot and soft and then drains them with a small basket before setting the noodles in the phở bowl.
5. Last but not least are the spices. Instead of using bean sprouts or large vegetable leaves, Hà Nội phở often serves it with spring onions (about ten centimeters long), and small aromatic leaves. A good phở restaurant should have lemon, chili, chili sauce, pepper, and pickled garlic on each table.