No, I’m not talking about my Bubbie’s matzo ball and noodle soup. But there’s another soup I’ve come to adore that’s almost as good: Pho, Vietnamese noodle soup.
It’s a big bowl of steaming rice noodle soup with whatever you’d like. Beef and chicken seem to be the most popular.
I first discovered pho in an unassuming joint in Lancaster, Pa., across from a minor league ball stadium, of all places. (I’d only sampled Vietnamese cuisine once when I lived in DC, at some chichi place in Georgetown, where the food was as bland as the decor. I wasn’t a fan.)
But I gave it another shot after looking for some warmth one frigid winter’s day. The place wasn’t much to look at, but it was cozy, and I picked “No. 33” — the chicken broth and fried tofu — at random from the menu. I’ve stuck with it ever since. The tasty tofu soaks up the broth. Sort of like matzo balls in that sense. Yes, Bubbie, it’s true!
Ummm, the delicate salty and sour blending of the chicken broth, lime juice and fresh basil. (I could do without the bean sprout and hot chili garnishes.) The ultimate comfort food. Really clears out the sinuses. And chock full of noodles for a Lukshun Kup (noodle head in Yiddish) like me.
BTW, my server is actually from Ho Chi Minh City, but we couldn’t discuss my upcoming trip there because she doesn’t speak English.
I can’t wait to see how my favorite soup stacks up against its counterpart in the homeland.
So stay tuned for The Great Vietnamese Soup Taste Test…