December 18, 2017

Pho a good time, Pho Bang

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I’ve  been exploring the neighborhood of Elmhurst in Queens, New York.  Vietnamese food is everywhere and there are many restaurants to choose from.  Turning to YELP for help gave us Pho Bang on Broadway by Queens Blvd.  Us in this case refers to me and my friend Bloom.  We both work in Queens and make a point of searching out the best in ethnic foods for lunch every chance we get. 

Pho Bang scores high points because it is a true ethnic restaurant serving it’s home country’s customers, the food is amazing and you can’t beat the low prices.  At Pho Bang we always get the same thing.  Two large bowls of Pho with sliced beef and noodles.  Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup, a dark beef broth scented with aromatic herbs and spices topped with vegetables, rice noodles and a choice of meats.

The bowls are served in minutes and come with lots of good stuff to add on your own, like a mound of bean sprouts, basil, mint and lemon wedges.  You add whatever you like and then squeeze on some condiments such as Hoisin sauce, red wine vinegar and a choice of hot sauces.  I prefer the house chili sauce and Bloom likes the Sirachi.  Another great aspect of this dish is it’s low calorie count.  The broth tends to be fat free and you fill it with vegetables.  When dieting I ask for it without the noodles.  With so much broth you can’t help but fill up.

Pho Bang inspired me to create this dish at home. Not only is Pho a warm, hearty and healthy dish,  it can also an impressive meal to serve your family or friends.  Better yet, this is the perfect recipe for a quick week night dinner.

Week night Pho

The beauty of this recipe is in the easy cooking and impressive presentation. While writing this recipe there was an “Ah Ha!” moment as I  watched someone pouring tea.  Instead of hot water steeped with tea leaves you could steep the beef broth with the spices and other ingredients. While the soup is simmering in the tea kettle, place a mound of cooked rice noodles in each large soup bowl and top with salad of fresh bean sprouts, hand picked basil and mint leaves.  Top the salad with beef slices. For presentation place the soup bowls at each table setting.  When people are seated, walk around the table pouring soup from the tea kettle over the noodles and salad in each bowl.  As the soup hits the fresh herbs, people will drool at the aromas filling the air.

For condiments serve lemon wedges, hoisin sauce, red wine vinegar and a variety of Asian chili or hot sauces.

Serve with a Vietnamese beer such as Bia Hanoi, Bia Thai Binh, Tiger Beer or San Miguel.

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