A few months ago I was lucky enough to experience on the classic dishes of Seattle while performing with the Santa Monica based Pin-Ups On Tour: Pho!
Seattle has a large Vietnamese population (large enough that there’s a section of the city called Little Saigon) and pho is known as the National Dish of Vietnam. It’s absolutely un-pho-gettable!
For those not familiar, pho is a noodle soup consisting of beef broth, rice noodles, herbs, and vegetables. It originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, and was popularized throughout the rest of the world by refugees after the Vietnam War.
It’s eaten for breakfast in Southern Vietnam, while northern Vietnamese consume it any time of day. Regional variants of pho are segmented into “northern pho” which normally tends to use wider noodles and large quantities of green onion in its dish. “Southern pho” aka “Saigon pho” has a broth that is slightly sweeter and has bean sprouts and a greater variety of fresh herbs.
While in Bellevue, a posh section of Seattle, we were able to squeeze it a dinner at the classic What the Pho! It’s almost a requirement that pho restaurants have pun-y names, some of my absolute favorites include 9021Pho and Absolutely Phobulous in LA.
What the Pho!’s broth is crafted through their meticulous twelve-hour process of careful summering and a specialty blend of herbs. This fragrant broth is then combined with fresh rice noodles, thinly sliced cuts of eye round steak, brisket and flank, book tripe, tendon squeezed lime, bean sprouts, sliced jalapenos, and fresh Thai basil leaves. Since I’m a Veg I indulged in phở chay a vegetable broth version substituting anything from a cow for deep fried tofu and vegetables. The result was a large steaming bowl is hard to resist!!!
To compliment my pho I (naturally) had to get a Vietnamese coffee. The drink, served Iced or Hot, is espresso style coffee crafted with sugary sweet condensed milk. With its strong bold flavor (this was Seattle...) balanced with a Nutcracker like sweetness, it was the perfect after meal demitasse.
So if you’re looking for a dish that’s Pho-ever Yum in the Seattle area, What The Pho should be on your list!!!
Here’s to life being delicious and absolutely pho-bulous!!!