One of the national dishes of Vietnam is “pho.” It’s spelled “phở.” To pronounce it correctly, start to drop the f-bomb, and leave off the final “k” sound. Or start to say “full” and leave off the final “ll” sound. It’s a noodle soup, usually with beef or chicken. It’s very mild. Vietnamese people see it as comfort food. I see it as boring. Usually.
A few days ago, I got a stomach bug that was really debilitating (I was lying in bed all afternoon today with stomach cramps). This evening I wasn’t really hungry, but I needed to get something in my stomach, so I went out for some pho. It isn’t hard to find pho in Vietnam. It’s everywhere, from streetside bistros to upscale restaurants. I chose a middle-of-the-road chain called Pho 24.
Usually I don’t like pho. It’s so mild that it’s boring. But this time, it was just what the doctor ordered. The rice noodles are easy to digest, and the warm broth feels good on an upset tummy. Maybe pho is Vietnam’s answer to chicken soup. If chicken soup is Jewish penicillin, maybe pho is Vietnamese penicillin.