As an avid traveler and eater, Vietnam is hands down my favorite food destination. No trip to Vietnam is complete without a hearty bowl of beef noodle soup, pho (pronounced “fuh”). Among all the Vietnamese dishes, pho is considered as the national dish of Vietnam, and it has captured the fascination of so many people because of its deceptive simplicity and its distinct flavors.
Vietnamese noodle soup, is traditionally made with beef or chicken broth that is flavored with various spices and topped the accompaniment of herbs, Thai basil, cilantro and bean sprouts. Fragrant and aromatic, pho is the staple diet of the Vietnamese culture. Usually eaten as a breakfast dish, this filling soup can be eaten at any hour of the day. Warm, hearty and deliciously refreshing.
Vietnam is a country with a history spanning more than 3,500 years, but pho is a relatively new food. It was born at the beginning of the twentieth century in and around Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, located in the northern part of the country. Pho was heavily influenced by both Chinese and French cooking. Rice noodle and spices were imported from China and the French popularized the eating of red meat. It is believed that “pho” is derived from “pot au feu” a French soup. Vietnamese cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that is uniquely Vietnamese. The popularity of pho spread southwards in the 1950’s when the country was divided into North and South Vietnam. As the dish moved south, cooks infused it with additional ingredients until it evolved into the version that is commonly served today. It and was later popularized throughout the rest of the world by refugees following the Vietnam War.
Today you can enjoy a bowl of pho almost anywhere, however I still prefer experiencing this tasty dish in the country of it’s origin, Vietnam.