Let me say that I love different kinds of food and I will try anything once. I love “No Reservations” and “Bizarre Foods”(except Andrew Zimmern is just annoying and waaaay to “American” for me if you know what I mean) So, when faced with a challenge to try a new food i’m nervous and excited all at the same time, feeling like this is my own travel food show!
I have tried Phở before at a Thai restaurant in town and while I’ve questioned if this is the real stuff, I was thinking maybe it’s just a Thai version of Phở, which I am ok with, but I’ve always had this longing to try the real stuff. So one day my boyfriend and I had just that chance. I had heard of a Vietnamese cafe from one of my friends siblings and I told my boyfriend about it and he said we should go. Off we go really anticipating the taste of Phở and just really really hungry because we had not eaten at all that day.
We arrived at the cafe. Interior lovely, many people, clean. It’s a good place I thought. There were many people at their own tables enjoying the Phở and i overheard some people talking about how good it is….until we ordered our own.
That day was luckily $5 Phở so we ordered the “everything you can possibly think of from a cow Phở” Which had brisket,tendon tripe and meat balls and came with the bean sprouts cilantro, green onions and to our surprise a mysterious plant that we just threw in the soup which later i found out was long coriander. There were also lime slices and jalapeno pepper.
This looks delicious right? Well I thought so, until it got to the table and I breathed. I tried some of it with nothing and i was overwhelmed with this strange taste. I tried the tripe and found it just to be chewy and nothing special and noticed that my meat was a shimmery shade of green which i did not eat. I did try everything. After I tried everything, I promptly added the lime..and everything else that was on the little garnish plate. I then tried it again to no satisfaction and THEN proceeded to add sriracha hot sauce and some other unidentifiable red hot sauce in a small class container. Now the soup was disgusting and too spicy. *sigh* I didn’t finish it and the only reason my boyfriend ate a little more than half of it was because he was so hungry. We then proceeded to KFC.
A couple of weeks later I asked the Thai restaurant if there were two different types of Phở or if there is just one and he said that there is one and it all depends on the stock. *ding!* He then told me that the chef from the Vietnamese restaurant used cube stock while his mother made her stock from scratch for six hours. He even told me that the chef from the other restaurant comes to their restaurant just to eat his moms Phở.
I went on to yelp and researched this Vietnamese restaurant and people genuinely like it. I’m just curious if the reason that we don’t like it is because we like “fake Phở ” which the server said does not exist or if it is just really bad. People who had eaten there and written reviews said that it was authentic and that it was delicious…. maybe we just went on a bad day.
Definitely a Phở phail.