(Continuing our meal at Pho Thanh, a Vietnamese restaurant in Phoenix, with cousin Raina and her husband Jesse.)
The pho at Pho Thanh is described by Laura Hahnefeld phoenixnewtimes.com: “It's not a side dish. It's not a soup dish. It's pho—a main course, a noodle dish. In Vietnam, it's the people's food. Street food. And at Pho Thanh, it's delicious. It should be—it's the house specialty.
“…There are several variations of pho at Pho Thanh including chicken, seafood, or cuts of beef…. The first spoonful made us appreciate the fact that only a broth that's been simmering with marrow-rich beef bones over low heat for hours could taste that intense. Just salty enough, with layers of flavor brought out by the various herbs and spices.”
You place the raw beef slices in the steaming hot broth, add one or all of the accoutrements to your taste, and dig in. I don’t know if Vietnamese etiquette allows for noodle slurping as does the Chinese, but I will tell you that loud slurping noises came emanated from my place at the table.
Next I veered into safe territory and suggested that the four of us share an order of gỏi cuốn (shrimp, pork, vermicelli, lettuce, mint, and sprouts) spring rolls (right pair in the photo below) and an order of bì cuốn (shredded pork, vermicelli, lettuce, mint, and sprouts) spring rolls.
The spring rolls came with bowls of a sweet peanut sauce and fish sauce containing shredded carrots and daikon.
I’m not sure if any of us was still hungry, but we decided to share a dessert—chè đậu trắng or white bean and sweet rice in coconut milk pudding.
At its simplest, (it) is made with finely ground Vietnamese-grown dark roast coffee individually brewed with a small metal French drip filter (cà phê phin) into a cup containing about a quarter to a half as much sweetened condensed milk, stirred and poured over ice” (hungryhuy.com).
In this instance, the condensed milk sat in the bottom of the glass of ice to be mixed when the hot coffee has finished dripping through the cà phê phin. This was delicious. Too bad Raina and Jesse took me up on my offer to share with them.
What could be better? Great food shared with great people. A real 5.0 Addie night.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.