Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Food Junkie #1: Phở
I get addicted easily when it comes to food. The last summer, I was addicted to Mul Naeng Myun or Korean cold noodle. I ate at least once or twice a week for lunch. Before that it was soon-tofu or Korean spicy tofu soup. I've been addicted to Thai flat rice noodle, basil pizza, linguine with clam sauce, lobster ravioli, live shrimp, steak tar tar, Indian curry, etc etc... Once I get hooked, I can't help but keep eating repeatedly.
Right now, I'm completely addicted to Vietnamese noodle, Phở.
I love the sound of Phở (fʌ/), smell of it, feel of it and most importantly, the taste of it. For those of you who don't know what the Phở is, well, I'm not going to explain to you but here's the wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pho
So it's a rice noodle with flavorful beef-based broth with tons of onions. The clear color of the soup tells me that it is not of high calorie or fat, maybe high in sodium. When you take a sip, the soup goes into you mouth, onto you tongue, and down to your throat very smoothly. Yet, you can taste the full complex flavor of the soup. One of the key toppings include Thai basil... I love Thai basil. They also include coriander aka cilantro, south Asian-native herb (not Mexico just because they put a bunch in salsa and guacamole...).
The rice noodle is not fatty compared to Chinese egg noodle or Japanese ramen noodle (they base mainly on egg and flour). It's easy to chew and swallow. It doesn't have much flavor but that's the beauty of this type of noodle; it catches and releases the flavor of the soup precisely to your taste bud while enjoying the texture of the soft yet unfaltering texture of the noodle.
The whole noodle is about 200 - 400 kcal depending on what toppings you have. Much less than Japanese ramen (400 kcal - 1,000 kcal), comparable to soba or udon noodle. So as long as you don't consume too much soup which is high in sodium, you won't take too much calories out of it.
The flavor of the soup is very unique so some of you may not like it, but for those of you who love Asian food, especially herbal flavors (like Thai food), you would love it.
Over a month ago, a Phở restaurant just open within a block from my office. It's only $6.50 for regular bowl and $7.50 for large. It's cheap, tasty and non-fattening. I'm addicted to it. I have been to the restaurant at least twice a week for the last 4 weeks... hmm but I can't stop!