Let me explain. My paternal grandfather used the term Grand Passion to talk about his favourite foods. Whenever my dad wanted to tell me that he was indifferent about some dish or the other, he would tell me, ‘That’s not my GP’. (If you’re getting the impression that we talked about food a lot and rather seriously, well, you’re right. We did, and we still do. :D)

Without further ado, I give you one of my GPs, Pho.

 

Pho(pronounced ‘fur’, emphasis on the ‘rrr’) is very popular Vietnamese dish of rice noodles in a clear beef soup. I happen to like soupy noodles in general, and pho has to be one of my favourites. It’s the combination of silky ribbons of rice noodles, the bitter, fragrant bite of fresh basil leaves in a hot, savoury soup that gets me going.

I had this particular bowl of pho in Springvale, Melbourne, in a shop that sells only pho. The variation comes in the size of the bowls : large, massive and humongous; and the kind of toppings: from slices of rare beef to cubed congealed beef blood, or any combination in between. One would expect, and right so, that a shop that sells only pho, will get it down pat. And they do. Pho shops are often open early for breakfast, and close only late at night. They are often quite busy, and even at odd hours of the day, say around 3pm, there will be customers sitting down to their big bowls of pho.

Pho is a little difficult to come by in T’ba, so I’ve resorted to making my own. It’s not overly difficult and the result is quite satisfactory, as far as getting the soup just right. My only regret when I make my own is that I cannot get the right kind of noodles for pho. We can get fresh, flat rice noodles here (kuey tiaw), but the kind of rice noodles that go into pho is finer than kuey tiaw, and have a chewier texture. But I’m quite happy to settle for kuey tiaw as they are easily available at supermarkets.

I like and use this particular pho recipe, from VietWorld Kitchen:

http://vietworldkitchen.typepad.com/blog/2008/10/pho-beef-noodle-soup.html

VietWorld Kitchen is Andrea Nguyen’s website. She’s one of my favourite Vietnamese cookbook authors and her website is a mine of information on Vietnamese cuisine. I came across her work a few years ago when I was attempting to write a dissertation on Pho. (Yes, you read right. A dissertation on a bowl of noodles. I did say we take food seriously in our family, didn’t I?)

I’d love to hear about your Grand Passion, or at least one or two of them. Share them in the comments section.

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