I love Vietnamese Pho! Who of you out there knows what Pho is? I am sure there are some of you who are not informed, and if you fall into this category, allow me to enlighten you. It is a Vietnamese dish, arguably traditional, of a meaty broth cooked for hours in which you add some noodles to herbs, spices and some ingredients are just added fresh by the eater of the dish. For instance, you might get a big bunch of beautifully pungent and aromatic Thai basil on the side, bean sprouts, other veggies, raw beef, you name it, and you can put as much as you want in the steeping broth on the spot, as you like it. For the days when there is still a bit of chill in the air until summer really warms up, this hits the spot.
The history of Vietnamese Pho could probably be traced parallel to the country’s origin over only the last hundred years or so. It mainly came to be only in 1975 with the Fall of Saigon in 1975 when it graced many tables for years to come.
Here are some other events which shaped the origin of pho; unification under the French in 1887, and the split of the country into North and South in 1954. Some say it comes from the French influence with their ‘pot au feu’ which translates as ‘pot on fire’. This clear broth is made just as the base for pho with marrow-rich beef bones and cartilage. It is boiled for about three hours until the excess fats and impurities float to the top so they can be skimmed off. The result is a rich, flavorful and aromatic, crystal clear, umami-delish broth you add noodles to (it is not considered a ‘noodle dish’ per se) and the other fixings I mentioned earlier. Depending where you are in Vietnam the pho is referred to as pho nam or pho bac. Each one is differentiated by the herbs and spices added to flavor the broth.
Are you curious yet? Here is where you can get some of the best Vietnamese Pho in Melbourne.
Pho Hung Vuong 2
This place has been around for a while now, so do not miss out. You can get most Vietnamese Pho around town for under $10! There is no excuse not to give it a try. This place is a little spot among all the other Vietnamese places on Victoria Street. Eat in or take it home. It comes in three different size options and you can have it with beef or chicken or both and you can even add sausage.
Pho Chu The
The owner of the place, Mr. Mai Xuan The, arrived in Australia over thirty years ago. He started up this place and is not going anywhere any time soon, as the locals seem to love the place, and the Vietnamese Pho of course. The basil is always fresh and aplenty. You can get other stuff on the menu, but you have to come for the pho. It also comes in three different sizes along with some bean sprouts and mint. Tea is free and all for $10 or less! Get his phở bo dac biet or the beef special, made with a special broth that is slightly sweet with soft chewy noodles.
image thanks to Wendy