Kathryn and I discovered the magical world of Vietnamese food about three summers ago when a colleague of Kathryn’s introduced her to the glorious, Pho 99 in Buffalo. Now this section of town is where it starts to get a little sketchy. Half of the time when visiting Pho 99, one might be worried to leave their car unattended. Fear not. The risk is worth it.
My whole mindset on life changed one day when Kathryn invited me to meet her at Pho 99, or Fast Food 99, as is the restaurant’s real name. She told me that I would love this amazing concoction called Pho, which is actually pronounced -fuh. She was right. I did love it and it did change my life.
Here is a brief description that I found on Wikipedia:
“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. Pho is a popular food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Southern Vietnamese eat it for breakfast and occasionally lunch, whereas those from northern Vietnam consume it at any time of day.”
“Vietnamese dishes are typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables, and various other accompaniments, such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice; it may also be served with hoisin sauce. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, Thai basil, fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts, and cilantro. Fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha sauce) may be added to taste as accompaniments.”
So basically Pho is amazing.
I like to say that Pho heals the soul. It keeps you from being sick. You’re immune system will be great if you eat it at least once a week. (Warning: No scientific tests of this have actually occurred, but I did once celebrate Phuesday Tuedays for two months straight one winter and never got sick during that time)
To skeptics or picky eaters, I would say that Pho is like an Asian chicken noodle soup. It warms you right up on a cold day. If you make yours spicy, it clears your sinuses right out. It’s just a great thing.
Now. Sometimes I get lazy and don’t feel like driving 10 minutes to pick some up. What is one to do in this case? Faux Phở.
There is a large Asian population at the University at Buffalo, my old Alma Mater, and our favorite local grocery store welcomes them by making them feel at home with not one, but TWO Asian cuisine sections. This also makes my life because I am a huge fan of Asian specialties. So one day when I was perusing for some instant Miso soup, I saw the rice noodles in a package: PHO NOODLES that I could buy and take home with me to prepare myself. WHATT. Yea, I was excited.
Now I know that nothing can replace Phở, but I decided to make a simple version that I could prepare for lunch or dinner whenever my little heart desired it. To prepare Faux Phở, I only used a few ingredients: Small rice noodles, some sort of broth (I just use my jar of chicken flavored Better Than Bouillon), cilantro, and a small splash of lemon juice. I also added a little bit of soy sauce and maybe half a tablespoon of Sriracha to give it a spice.
Start out by boiling about half of a small sauce pan of water and add your desired amount of noodles. The noodles take less than 5 minutes too cook. You’ll know when they loose shape like spaghetti does when it’s boiled. If you are using Better Than Bouillion, after they are cooked pour out any excess water you don’t want to slurp up and add about half a tablespoon of the Bouillion and combine. Add more for taste. Next find a really large bowl. Like bigger than your large cereal bowl. Pour in your broth and noodles. Now add half a handful of cilantro, a splash of lemon or lime juice, a plash of soy sauce, black pepper and Sriracha if you want it a little spicy.
This is a tasty filling soup and I love eating it. For all you Buffalonians reading I would def recommend visiting Pho 99 at 3396 Bailey Ave in Buffalo right by the University at Buffalo’s South Campus. The area seems a little sketchy but I promise you won’t regret it and you’ll be safe inside. Pho 99 gets a nice lunch and dinner crowd. I recommend getting the Small Shrimp Pho but they also have pho with chicken, tripe, beef, and other meats. Its very interesting. Pho also pairs well with a nice Spring Rolls served with Peanut sauce.