I’ve been eating Pho since junior year of college, when someone told me it was the absolute best way to cure a hangover. Between the salt in the broth and the carbs in the noodles, it really does work (trust me).
Having only ever eaten Pho in the US (namely, either via takeout or in a really sketchy restaurant in Washington DC) I’d always been pretty confused about what to do with all the sauces and vegetables that come with the noodles. My method was usually just to dump it all in and go for it, which as I quickly learned in Vietnam is not the right way to do it.
Here’s what I learned about eating Pho in Vietnam, so you’ll never look silly slurping down noodles again (unless, of course, your boyfriend agrees to Lady And The Tramp them with you… which mine did not. Sigh.). And don’t be a baby — order the weird meat option instead of sticking with chicken… It is so much better. Trust.
1. Taste Test
I am hugely judgemental of people who don’t taste their food before adding seasoning to it. That’s all
2. Seasoning Time!
After you’ve tested the broth and decided that it’s too bland (which, honestly, it usually is), dash in some fish sauce, salt, pepper and a lime wedge.
3. Go Go Green Crazy
After the seasoning, it’s time to get your veggies in there. Add a handful of sprouts to the bowl, and push them to the bottom with your chopsticks. Then, tear up the basil (as much as you want!!!! go crazy!!!!) and sprinkle it on top. There is no such thing as too many Pho herbs IMHO.
4. When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip.
When I was in Vietnam, I realized I’d been doing the Pho thing all wrong for the last 10 years. Instead of dousing the bowl in Hoisin and Sriracha, you’re supposed to mix the two together on the side and dip the noodles and meat into it using your chopsticks. Cool!
5. Eat, Eat, Add
The best part about Pho, other than its magical hangover curing powers? It’s a NEVER ENDING BOWL OF SOUP. When you run out of the good stuff (aka the meat and noodles) just add more vegetables and keep eating. One bowl can legit take an hour to eat, and will keep you full all day long.