OK, I admit it…my first effort to try out this restaurant led me to the “safer” Mexican food place down the street…only because I feared making a fool of myself attempting to eat Pho. But I cowboyed-up on my second attempt and, boy, I’m glad I did!
Full disclosure — I did my homework. I read online how one should attempt to eat Pho. When the garnish of bean sprouts and basil arrived at the table, I placed the bean sprouts beneath the pho noodles in the piping-hot broth. (Seriously, the broth was about 10,000 degrees!). I also pinched off a few basil leaves and added them to the broth, then I finished my customization with a good squeeze of lemon.
I was looking like a pro at that point. But then, I found out you can’t eat Pho with a fork. First of all, rice noodles are a little “stiffer” than spaghetti….so you can’t really cut them on the side of the bowl.
So, when you twirl ’em up Italian style on the fork, you end up with a massive ball of 10,000-degree noodles — no WAY you’re going to attempt to eat it.So I finally got up enough nerve to ask the staff to show me how to use chopsticks. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE — it’s MUCH easier to eat pho with chopsticks than a fork! Granted, you end up with noodles hanging down into the bowl…but the staff assured me it was perfectly acceptable to slurp up the noodles.
Well, I made it through the meal….and only spattered one shirt, one table, and perhaps a patron or two. But the experience was well worth it.
And, as luck would have it, there’s several items on the menu that would be familiar to the Chinese-food fans out there, so don’t turn down an invitation to try Vietnamese Pho. And, PUT DOWN THAT FORK, ok?