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How To Eat Pho

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HISTORY Pho is a popular street food in Vietnam that originated in the early 1990 in Hanoi. It is primarily served with either beef or chicken in a soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles (bánhphở), and a few herbs. Today pho is served in specialty restaurants around the world.

HOW TO EAT PHO The best way to attack a steaming bowl of pho is to have chopsticks in one hand and a soupspoon in the other. Take in a little broth with your spoon, slurp in some to get a taste of it. Follow it up with the rice noodles using your chopsticks. Then select pieces of ingredients from the bowl and enjoy them individually or together with the broth and noodle.

THE AROMA The fragrance of the broth is a good indicator of the quality of your soup.Just one sniff will tell you that the spices are balanced in making the pho, if the broth is too salty, if there is monosodium glutamate sprinkled in it, or if the beef stock itself is poorly made. Remember that the soul of pho is in the broth. So enjoying the scent is definitely an important part of the dining ritual.

THE GARNISHES Your soup is served with a plate that would typically contain bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, sliced chili and lime wedges. Also you will have hoisin sauceand hot chili sauce available at the table.

THE ORDER Is there a specific order by which you should place these herbs in your bowl of pho? The answer to this is “no!” With the garnishing, you can think of it as finding the best combination that will fit your taste. Each individual garnish contributes its own distinct smell and taste to an already good bowl of pho. You do not want to dump all the garnishing into the bowl at the same time. Rather, just try a few at a time to get your preferred mix. More importantly, give the ingredients several chances (on different visits) and you’ll appreciate their roles in this noodle dish.

TIPS FOR TO FIND YOUR PREFERRED TASTE Here are a few tips on consuming the ingredients:

-Bean sprouts are put in raw for the crunchy factor. Add a little at a time to maintain the crunchiness as you eat, or add them all while the broth is hot to cook them. The downside here is it takes heat to cook your sprouts, and as a result your broth will cool before you finish your bowl of pho. This is why many people request blanched sprouts.

- Dipping the sliced chili in the hot broth releases the oil and makes the broth taste spicier. You can keep them in if you dare. Many do. But really, about half of the jalapenos are not all that hot. I prefer the smaller but hotter Thai peppers or similar varieties.

- Lime juice adds tartness to the broth, which is good if the broth tastes bland, too salty, or too sweet for you. The saltiness and tartness together provide a delicious combination that many people love. I’m one of them. I can do without the other things, but lime I must have,

- The herb leaves are stripped from the stems and can be shredded to bits by hand before they are placed in the bowl. For the best aroma and taste, don’t drop them all in at the time in the beginning. I tear the leaves in smaller pieces, and add them as I go to maintain freshest and uncooked flavor. Even down to dropping in some fresh bits of basil and cilantro. The fragrance is incredible. Eating pho is always an adventure, even for those who have had it all their lives. For first-time dinners, the key is to relax and enjoy. You’ll find your own pho in no time.

--Notice: Items marked with an * may be cooked to order. Thinly sliced steak can be served raw or undercooked. However, consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish or egg may increase your chance of foodborne illness, especially if you have certain medical conditions. Variations in ingredients and preparation, as well as substitutions, will increase or decrease nutritional values such as calories. Stated nutritional values are approximate; values obtained by laboratory testing may be different.

-- To our guests with food sensitivities or allergies: PHO ROYAL RESTAURANTS cannot ensure that menu items do not contain ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction. Please consider this when ordering.

--Not responsible for personal belongings. Substitution is available without additional charge. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. State and local taxes will be added to the price of the food, beverages, and alcoholic beverages.
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