One of the most delicious dishes that I love is the Vietnamese Rice Noodle Soup or known as Pho in Vietnamese. A well-made bowl of hot Pho is such a blissful experience as the aroma of the Vietnamese mint floats into your nose bringing back to your memories of that very first bowl of Pho you’ve ever had.
For those of you who never tried Pho, I can guarantee that it’s one of the most delicious dishes you’ll ever try. The soup is so full of flavor that as soon as you take a gentle sip, that salty soup with the taste of meat, and the lemon juice that you squeezed in there just explodes in your mouth. As you take your chopsticks and pull out the thin strands of fresh rice noodles, covered with that delicious soup and suck it up, the gentle texture of white spongy noodles is exquisite. Then you have the thin slices of beef, pork, or chicken that you can use to dip in your own concoction of sauces used to accompany your lovely tender meat as you savor the juices and the sauce when it slips into your mouth.
A bowl of Pho is yours and yours alone. The things you add to it, the way you eat it is such a private affair that it just adds to the experience of eating your Pho. However a bad made Pho can ruin your experience.
So how can you tell if it’s good or bad? Besides the personal experience of trial and error, there are only a few ways you can check to see if the place you are going to is any indication of good food. The try and tested method are to check out the store to see if there are many customers, after all so many mouths that tasted it can’t lie, can it?
Next, if people are eating take a look to see if their soup is steaming hot, nothing worse than a bowl of Pho that is warm or goodness sakes cold. Also, the soup itself must be clear, yet have a distinct and obvious smell of delicious meat. The soup is the soul of Pho so if the soup is bad, then you can pretty much safely assume that your whole Pho is ruined. That’s why a lot of Vietnamese people sip the soup first as soon as it is brought to them, and then finely adjust the taste to what they like by adding mints, bean shoots, and different sauces.
The noodle itself is very important also. There is such a huge variety of rice noodles out there that alongside the secret recipe of the soup, the correct choice of noodles for the store can make or break the business. Different thickness, size, and texture of the rice noodles can affect how the soup and noodle taste together.
After all, the surface area is different therefore how it soaks up the soup as you put it in your mouth can change your experience quite significantly. However, after saying all that, it is a matter of personal preference in terms of the type of noodles you like. But the noodles must be fresh so it should glimmer in the soup, and as you pick it up it shouldn’t break apart. The noodle should be soft yet a little bit spongy.
As for the meat, it’s pretty much the same as any place you go to, it must be fresh free from weird smells and as you eat it it should be nice and tender.