Food We Miss – Pho Ba

It’s cold out. I work from home and spend most of my days sitting at our new kitchen table, in our empty apartment (remember how we do not have our stuff from London yet?), typing. The shock of coming back combined with the cold of the New York City winter – and it’s a cold one this year, believe me – makes me really miss what had become a daily occurrence when we were in Vietnam and Laos: Pho Ba.

Pho Ba is a fancy way to say Vietnamese beef noodle soup. While it’s readily available all over the world, we believe that this 13 year-old girl in Hanoi made the best version on earth.

It may have been the ridiculous heat , her smile when I got up and ran to the ice-bucket to show her that we did not need ice cubes in our beer, or simply the contrast between this seemingly dirty hangar/restaurant and the intricate, bold yet smooth flavour of the soup, but I swear this girl makes the best soup in the world.

We recently hung out with Jodi of Legal Nomads and agreed that pho could easily fall in the mysterious category of food that is usually better when someone else cooks it for you. We also included dumplings, empanadas, roti canai and the bacon cheeseburger we were devouring in that category. The next morning, I was up at 7, desperately trying to find the best recipe for all of the above listed items.

Does Pho really belong in that category? Well, I am not sure yet, but finding out definitely is on our list for 2010.

Want to help us figure it out? Try this detailed recipe from Jade’s Steamy Kitchen and then move on to this tempting list of the most authentic Pho recipes on the web, on aptly named

Oh and let us know what you think!

About Chloe254

Québécoise à peu près trentenaire qui fait de son mieux pour vivre bilingue, a Brooklyn et ailleurs. Si les bars a vins acceptaient les enfants et les chiens, et si mon chien savait se comporter en public, le monde serait parfait.


  1. the best foods in Vietnam are exactly like the photos above..simple, homemade…no fancy restaurants.. while pho is great, try the many many other types of Vietnamese noodle soups..

  2. Those bacon cheeseburgers were fantastic, and this pho looks spectacular too! I cannot wait to get to Vietnam and sample firsthand.

    Miss you guys! Glad we got to catch up in person before I left.

  3. @ravenouscouple – I just subscribed to your RSS feed, can’t wait to learn more about Asian cooking as it is really something new for me. I love it but never tried to cook it. We have some pretty amazing butchers in our new neighborhood so hopefully we’ll be able to make many, many good soups!

    Jodi – part of me really want to say “Let’s meet up in the south and spend a week eating” but no. Must be reasonable – I’ll let you know when I get a job 😉

  4. I’ve never made any of the items on your list but I’ve definitely had plenty of my mom’s dumplings and trust me, they are GOOD! I think it’s the mixture of bok choy and ground pork that she uses or maybe it’s the seasoning but they’re DEFINITELY comparable, if not better than any restaurant could do!

  5. Hi Cookie – Lucky you!! My mom does not make dumplings and even if she did, I live 500 miles away. I may try though – would you happen to have that recipe at hand? 😉

  6. I miss the Pho from Vietnam. Never got as far up as Hanoi so instead I long to return to my local Saigon spot for Pho & cold beer *sigh*

    It was such a pleasant surprise to come to the end of my 5 month trip and discover my favourite food was in Vietnam. The freshness, the flavours – nothing beats it!

  7. Hey – nice to see you here 🙂 Completely agree with you on the freshness and the flavours. Can’t wait to try my hand at a few Vietnamese recipes.

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