Pho is a staple food of Vietnam and you can never leave the country without trying one! This dish is served mainly at breakfast, although it can also be eaten at any time of the day. Nowadays, you’ll find Pho being sold all over the streets of Vietnam. There are also fast food chains that sell all kinds of Pho, which cater to customers who would prefer to eat in air-conditioned place than in some street side stalls outdoor. Regardless of where you plan on eating your Pho, it may be a good idea to learn some tips on how to eat it the right way. So here are some tips.
Season your Pho
Before you get too excited to take that first sip, you must first season your pho. Depending on your preferences, you can perhaps add a few drops of fish sauce. Now take a small sample of the soup and see if the taste suits you. If it’s still a little too bland to your taste, add some more fish sauce.
Be careful not to pour too much of the fish sauce or you might not appreciate the taste. Remember you can always add a little later on if you still find the soup bland. After adding the fish sauce, it’s time to sprinkle some black pepper. Then grab the lime and squeeze it into your bowl.
Add the Herbs and Vegetables
After you season your Pho, you still have to add some herbs and vegetables to it, which will be served to you on a separate plate. First, add a handful of the beansprouts. Then grab your chopsticks and push the veggies down towards the bottom of the bowl. If you ordered beef Pho, there might be some pieces of meat that are still pinkish, so you might have to submerge these as well in order to cook them further.
After adding the bean sprouts, add some leaves of Thai Basil into your Pho. But take the stems off before you add the leaves. You can add around 10 – 12 pieces of Basil leaves into the bowl right after you have taken off the stems. If the restaurant where you are eating your Pho serves saw-leaf herbs, tear them off into an inch long. You can add 2 to 3 of them into your Pho. If you prefer your Pho to be spicy, add 3 to 4 slices of the Serrano pepper chili. Keep some of the chilies on the side of your bowl for later use.
Prepare the Dip
For a more flavorful Pho, you need to eat it with a dip. So refer to the condiments that are usually right at the table and pick the Sriracha chili sauce and Hoisin sauce. Pour a small amount of each sauce into a small saucer and mix well. If you cannot tolerate spicy foods, then you can skip the Sriracha or add just a small amount of this sauce. Use your chopsticks in mixing the sauce and mix them well together until they met at the tip of your chopsticks. Now taste the sauce and see if it’s according to your liking. Some people would choose to add a splash of Sriracha or Hoisin to their broth. But it’s all up to you on how you want to consume your Pho with the dip.
Time to Eat
Finally, you can now dig into your bowl of Pho and enjoy its unique mixture of flavors. So hold the chopsticks with your other hand and the spoon on the other. Mix all the ingredients evenly. It’s really all up to you on how you’ll eat all the ingredients in your Pho. However, the local way is to pair some meat pieces with the basil, herbs, and some serrano chili, depending on your tolerance on spicy foods. Dip these ingredients to the Hoisin and Sriracha sauce and put in your mouth. Then sip some broth. Eat the ingredients again and sip some more broth.
Pair it with a Beverage
To fully enjoy your Pho, don’t forget to order a drink along with it too. Usually, the locals drink a glass of tra or Vietnamese tea after they consume their Pho. In most of the local food stalls in Vietnam, this tea is given to the customers for free. Vendors would normally carry a big pitcher of tra, which the customers can drink from after they eat their Pho.
If you’re not a fan of tea, then go ahead, and order a bottle of the local beer. Most tourists would pair their Pho with beer at dinner. Others would order soda to go with their Pho. Of course, you can choose to drink water if you want but avoid the tap. Always order bottled water when drinking in Vietnam to avoid getting sick.