Pho

Pew

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Let's talk about the greatest noodles of all time, pho. I must say, I usually find 99% of all Pho restaurants have bland chicken-style broth, which makes up 75% of the taste of this noodle soup dish. I usually cook it the way my mom does (but never can come close to her's of course.)

Ingredients I use for the broth that simmers for a long time. It's like chili, the longer it simmers the better it tastes. Luckily I can find most of these with pre-made seasoning kits:
Anise seed
Lemon Grass
Beef hocks
Cinnamon stick
Coriander seeds

Topped with green onions, cilantro, thai mint, basil, fried onion/garlic, oyster sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce; sometimes: siracha, black bean paste, bean sprouts, and red garlic chili pepper, or dried thai hot peppers.

My picture isn't very photogenic. It's missing the beef strips and pork balls. I wish I had a picture of my mom's pho for comparison but I can never just eat one bowl. I'm probably missing some ingredients but the list is so long that I have to keep a memo of everything I need.
1644985989713.png
 
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Pew

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Looks great.

I love pho.

There is only one Vietnamese place around here that makes excellent pho.

Thank you sir. It's such a pain to make, mainly because I have to drive 40 minutes to a store and the prep work for the garnish.
 
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I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's hard to miss them. But certainly around Story Road in San Jose, California it's just crazy. There was a controversy of the naming of a segment of it as "Saigon Business District" when the local Vietnamese-American population wanted "Little Saigon".

I've tried making it myself. The noodles are the easy part, but I can't find all the ingredients. I've tried using the shortcut broth, but a restaurant is going to use some sort of bones - I heard oxtail is preferred. But at a restaurant the way is with all sorts of beef, including Chinese-style beef balls, sliced beef tendon, tripe, and thin/rare steak. Then basil, jalapeños, and bean sprouts in the side, plus Huy Fong sriracha and hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is so popular with Vietnamese-Americans that it's usually labelled in Vietnamese.
 

Pew

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I've tried making it myself. The noodles are the easy part, but I can't find all the ingredients. I've tried using the shortcut broth, but a restaurant is going to use some sort of bones - I heard oxtail is preferred. But at a restaurant the way is with all sorts of beef, including Chinese-style beef balls, sliced beef tendon, tripe, and thin/rare steak. Then basil, jalapeños, and bean sprouts in the side, plus Huy Fong sriracha and hoisin sauce. Hoisin sauce is so popular with Vietnamese-Americans that it's usually labelled in Vietnamese.

Yea that's exactly how my mom makes it too, with the steak, beef balls, and tripe. All that is normally too much for me to prep. Oxtail and beef hocks are the norm. You can kind of shortcut it using low sodium beef broth and add in water to taste. I tend to do both low-sodium beef broth in a 1-to-1 water ratio with beef hocks.
 
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Yea that's exactly how my mom makes it too, with the steak, beef balls, and tripe. All that is normally too much for me to prep. Oxtail and beef hocks are the norm. You can kind of shortcut it using low sodium beef broth and add in water to taste. I tend to do both low-sodium beef broth in a 1-to-1 water ratio with beef hocks.

I've made oxtail soup/stew, and absolutely the flavor is extremely beefy. About the only only part I know with that kind of intense flavor is tongue. If I've got the oxtail bones I'll suck on them.

But I've tried with the cheater broth powders. I bought this. Kind of weird since it's made in Thailand. Not sure what "artificial beef flavor is", but I'd say it was acceptable.

81q8beZYCSL._SL1500_.jpg
61VuKdFNZxL.jpg
 
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beef bones and other magic stuff they put in the soup is what makes a pho. i have seen the huge pot they put the bones into . they cook it a long time .

i had my first bowl of pho in 1983 at the first pho place in the Seattle area. this was way before most non Vetnamese even knew what it was.
i remember it being $1.25 for a big bowl back then


in my youth i had a chinese viet girlfriend that her mom made viet food all the time. real home made pho, bung ba hue etc.
 
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in my youth i had a chinese viet girlfriend that her mom made viet food all the time. real home made pho, bung ba hue etc.

I miss all the good Chinese-Vietnamese restaurants around here. Not sure what happened to them. There was a chain in Northern California called TK Noodle House. And it got really complicated with family intrigue. I never understood the name though. I've seen other Chinese-Vietnamese places that had names that made sense. Apparently for these guys they just bought an existing Chinese restaurant that was called "Tung Kee" and eventually added their own recipes.

Already competition has come from unexpected quarters: the New Tung Kee Noodle Houses (a fast-growing chain of three restaurants), whose owners are former business partners and relatives of the family. The Tung Kee formula seems to be so successful that New Tung Kee Noodle Houses are spitting image of the originals--and equally successful. The familial faction took with them the restaurant name as well as the business formula. And since those involved are relatives, the families decided not to drag each other into court on infringement charges, but instead remain on non-speaking terms.​
Customers, both the dine-in and takeout crowds, are often confused by the two chains, requesting items that one chain has and not the other. New Tung Kee expanded the original menu and offers five more entrees, including a vegetarian dish and even a version of pad Thai noodles. What the new chain lacks are the corporate posters depicting the rise of the family corporation, with photos of various restaurants. But everything else remains the same: the Chinese-Vietnamese waitstaff, the neon signs, the neutral dining-room color scheme, the customized kitchen layout, the Formica tables and indestructible benches.​
 
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I miss all the good Chinese-Vietnamese restaurants around here. Not sure what happened to them. There was a chain in Northern California called TK Noodle House. And it got really complicated with family intrigue. I never understood the name though. I've seen other Chinese-Vietnamese places that had names that made sense. Apparently for these guys they just bought an existing Chinese restaurant that was called "Tung Kee" and eventually added their own recipes.

Already competition has come from unexpected quarters: the New Tung Kee Noodle Houses (a fast-growing chain of three restaurants), whose owners are former business partners and relatives of the family. The Tung Kee formula seems to be so successful that New Tung Kee Noodle Houses are spitting image of the originals--and equally successful. The familial faction took with them the restaurant name as well as the business formula. And since those involved are relatives, the families decided not to drag each other into court on infringement charges, but instead remain on non-speaking terms.​
Customers, both the dine-in and takeout crowds, are often confused by the two chains, requesting items that one chain has and not the other. New Tung Kee expanded the original menu and offers five more entrees, including a vegetarian dish and even a version of pad Thai noodles. What the new chain lacks are the corporate posters depicting the rise of the family corporation, with photos of various restaurants. But everything else remains the same: the Chinese-Vietnamese waitstaff, the neon signs, the neutral dining-room color scheme, the customized kitchen layout, the Formica tables and indestructible benches.​
yep my girlfreind was one of those teochow folks . that place noodle are teochow style . different from HK style. teochow was one of the poorest places in China so a lot of them went to other countries to make a new life. They are some of the smartest and hardest working folks i have seen.
 
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My part of San Antonio is turning into little Saigon.

Tons of Pho restaurants sprouting up. Bahn Mi sandwiches, all the goodies.

Very friendly people, they are building new shopping centers with restaurants, and day spas.
 
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I've made oxtail soup/stew, and absolutely the flavor is extremely beefy. About the only only part I know with that kind of intense flavor is tongue. If I've got the oxtail bones I'll suck on them.

But I've tried with the cheater broth powders. I bought this. Kind of weird since it's made in Thailand. Not sure what "artificial beef flavor is", but I'd say it was acceptable.

81q8beZYCSL._SL1500_.jpg
61VuKdFNZxL.jpg
The magic is the MSG. And even legit spots will use it. I’ve been phasing in the use of MSG for more Asian things - “nutritionists” will call it a toxin. I haven’t made pho on my own - my parents make the pork-based Cambodian/Thai variant that’s more savory than aromatic.
 

Pew

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I've made oxtail soup/stew, and absolutely the flavor is extremely beefy. About the only only part I know with that kind of intense flavor is tongue. If I've got the oxtail bones I'll suck on them.

But I've tried with the cheater broth powders. I bought this. Kind of weird since it's made in Thailand. Not sure what "artificial beef flavor is", but I'd say it was acceptable.

My mom has used that one before, then switched to this below. It's hard to find unless you go shop in very Asian neighborhoods but you can also buy it online from amazon. I use it as well now as it contains most of the seasonings and a cheesecloth bag to hold everything in. All you really need to add to the broth after this is the beef bone and lemon grass.

I definitely recommend adding oxtail/beef hocks to the broth and let it simmer for a minimum of a few hours. The way the meat comes out after being in the broth for so long is amazing.

Each country will have their specific types though. I find Viet pho to be more chicken based and light. Thai, Lao, and Cambodia seems to be more beef base, with Laos being the most dark and rich beef broth. But this is just observation and I'm probably wrong here.

Fresno probably has the best Pho places in the US, generally speaking. It's easier to find good pho in Fresno vs any other city.

1645030338000.png
 
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The magic is the MSG. And even legit spots will use it. I’ve been phasing in the use of MSG for more Asian things - “nutritionists” will call it a toxin. I haven’t made pho on my own - my parents make the pork-based Cambodian/Thai variant that’s more savory than aromatic.

MSG is fine in moderation. It's basically just whatever is made by the soy sauce brewing process, more or less.
 
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MSG is fine in moderation. It's basically just whatever is made by the soy sauce brewing process, more or less.
My beef with the stuff is the commercially available crystals - if it’s not Ajinomoto brand made via fermentation of GMO corn(Ajinomoto and Monsanto, pre-Bayer created the fermentation process using a genetically modified form of Aspergillus fungi or S. Cervesiae), it’s the Chinese stuff. I use it in moderation as well.

The trick to get around “no-MSG” is to use a glutamate-rich ingredient such as yeast extract or sodium 5-inostate. Chinese restaurants use chicken powder as a workaround.
 
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My beef with the stuff is the commercially available crystals - if it’s not Ajinomoto brand made via fermentation of GMO corn(Ajinomoto and Monsanto, pre-Bayer created the fermentation process using a genetically modified form of Aspergillus fungi or S. Cervesiae), it’s the Chinese stuff. I use it in moderation as well.

The trick to get around “no-MSG” is to use a glutamate-rich ingredient such as yeast extract or sodium 5-inostate. Chinese restaurants use chicken powder as a workaround.

Well - that's added to some soy sauces. And don't get me started on "hydrolyzed soy protein". That stuff makes me nauseous. I appreciate Kari-Out for their contribution to the food container industry (even though Fold-Pak was probably the pioneer in the modern style), but this is nasty stuff.

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