101 - Order Soup with your own Bowl

By Mary Luz Mejia
2005

In Vietnam, a hearty noodle soup laden with veggies, meat and/or seafood is the dish of choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pho is a Vietnamese staple with its roots firmly entrenched in the northern city of Hanoi. The soup however, is readily available all over the country at makeshift street stalls and efficient restaurants serving up one steaming bowl after another.

Here in Toronto, we have Pho Hung Restaurant on Spadina to satiate our soupy cravings. Their beef noodle Pho is one of the best in town. It's lightly scented broth has undertones of star anise, coriander, citrus and chilli. A tangle of soft, slippery rice noodles and slivers of beef cooked to your preference enhance the soup. You also get the customary side dish of crisp bean sprouts and basil leaves to flavour your broth, along with a bowl of red-hot fresh chilis and lime wedges to up the citrus flavour.

For the daring, they say that if you bite off the tip of a chilli and take a spoonful of broth, it helps to "open up" the flavours of the soup. Any way you like it, pho, before any of these additions, is a mildly sweet/spicy wonder that's as fun to eat as it is tasty.

In Asia, slurping your soup is not only allowed, it's encouraged. So, if you find yourself ordering some pho, which in Vietnamese means "one's own bowl," customize your flavours and slurp to your heart's content.

Pho Hung Restaurant
350 Spadina
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 963-5080

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