The Pho Diaries


About a week ago, I went to one of my favorite pho places with my sister, Julie.  For those who are unfamiliar with the dish, “Phở or pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily served with either beef or chicken.”  It was your typical, authentic pho place; crummy service and questionable utensils but nevertheless, the “hole in the wall” pho spot attracted a huge crowd.  Something that I’ve noticed the past year is that with the help of social media, Yelp, etc., there is big variation between customers at Vietnamese restaurants like these, that don’t do a lot of advertising themselves (Which is a great thing because everyone should experience pho!).  My sister and I were promptly rushed to a booth in the corner, and were tossed some menus.  I ordered my usual, a small bowl of “phở tái.” Thịt tái is thinly sliced pieces of beef.  My sister ordered the “đặc biệt” which means “special” in Vietnamese.  It contains a variety of meats rather than just one.  I loved this place for a numerous amount of reasons.  To start off, the broth was perfect; it was not too salty or bland, and was full of rich flavor from the beef in the stock.  The broth at this particular location was so good, hoison sauce wasn’t even needed.  Also, a common mistake at many pho places is that the noodles come balled up, as if they were just taken out of their packaging and thrown into the bowl.  Not only is this annoying because it is difficult to break apart the noodles in the bowl, the noodles usually don’t come cooked to the right texture.  However, this was not the case at this restaurant.  The noodles were always cooked to perfection.  Lastly, the selection of vegetables to top off the pho were always fresh.  About a quarter into my bowl of deliciousness, I notice a little black object lurking in my broth.  I used one of my chopsticks as leverage through the mound of herbs I had piled on.  Lo and behold, there was a good-size fly in my pho.  I jolted the bowl forward and showed my sister my profound discovery.  I was overwhelmed with emotions and confusion.  This is my favorite pho place, how could they do this to me?  Will I ever be able to come back?  We received a full refund and left but till this day I remain confused, and being a germaphobe, extremely disgusted.


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