Phở : a Vietnamese rice noodle soup usually served with beef or chicken.
If I had a last meal request, pho is it. For me, pho encompasses all that is great about Vietnamese food: simple ingredients, complex flavors, delicious and satisfying. It’s at the top of the pyramid as far as comfort foods go. And for better or for worse, it takes most of the day to make, giving the beef bones enough time to lend their flavor to the broth.
As soon as I decided that I was going to make pho, I ran out and bought a stock pot…16 big quarts worth. That was the easy part.
The hard part was gathering up all the ingredients. I wanted to get everything in one place, so that meant going to the large Asian grocery store in the Richmond District. I had no idea where anything was and no one spoke English, so I spent a little more time than I wanted at the store, but I found everything expect for Thai basil. It’s surprisingly hard to find, but after a few stores I found some tied up in a plastic bag at the back of a small grocer.
Long story short, I eventually got all the ingredients for the broth into the pot and after a couple hours, it started looking like my family’s pho. At that moment I felt pretty proud and oddly connected to my family by making this meal and wished they were there to witness it. Instead, I text them pictures.
There was also a little bit of chopping of greens, but the hardest part was waiting about 7 hours for the broth to steep. In the end, I was able to feed 6 people with a little bit left over for the next day. Although I used a recipe that I found online, it tasted very much like what I was fed by my family. I would happily do it all over again, not only for the delicious meal we had at the end, but for the company it brought at the end. I feel this is why others love making/eating pho as well.