Fun with Phở

2009.Jun.25 Thursday · 5 comments

in Food & Recipes, Life

“Because not much was written about the origin of phở until recently, its beginnings are a bit murky and mostly culled from oral histories. Still, the consensus among academics, diners and restaurateurs is that it originated about a century ago in northern Vietnam. It was originally sold by venders from large boxes, until the first phở restaurant was opened in the 1920s in Hanoi. While a distinctly Vietnamese dish, phở has French and Chinese influences. The origin of the word was one subject in a seminar on phở held in Hanoi in 2003. One theory advanced at the seminar is that the name comes from the French feu (fire), as in the dish pot-au-feu, which like phở uses the French method of adding charred o­nion to the broth for color and flavor, one of the techniques which distinguishes phở from other Asian noodle soups.”

– Wikipedia entry

Buenos Aires – I don’t recall how it came up, but a couple of my students asked for a class in making the Vietnamese classic noodle soup, phở. While I could probably have followed a recipe and shown them something, it wouldn’t necessarily have been the authentic version, and it occured to me that our new friend Thuy, who runs the closed door restaurant A Little Saigon might just know a thing or two about the dish. Though she hadn’t considered giving classes, she readily agreed, and earlier this week myself, three students, and one of her regular guests, all turned up for a morning session. She added in a couple of other recipes – one of my favorite Vietnamese appetizers, banh tom, which are deep-fried sweet potato and shrimp fritters, along with their dipping sauce, nước chấm, and finishing off with che chuoi, banana, tapioca and coconut soup. On to the photos….

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Thuy shows off the rice flour for the fritters
Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Mixing up the batter for the fritters

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Into the oil to fry ’em up

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Ready for eating

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Close up on our banh tom

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Prepping ingredients for the phở

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Cleaning up the charred onions and ginger

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Putting together the phở bowls

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Ready to dig in

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Closeup on the finished phở

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Cooking up tapioca pearls for the che chuoi

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
Stewing away with the bananas

Vietnamese cooking class at A Little Saigon
And, a closeup on the che chuoi

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Evie June 25, 2009 at 15:37

This class was great! Loved the “fuh?”, and the fritters. And the sauce and the tapioca porridge dessert. Let’s do another class somewhere else now! Indian?

Ken Sternberg June 26, 2009 at 09:58

Wow, Dan. Thuy looks like a very nice and cool person. How lucky for your students that you know her. The food looks great.

Bonnie June 27, 2009 at 18:53

Looks incredible. Had I known I would have been there. I love pho and regularly make my own. But I would have loved to have learned a more authentic version.

dan June 27, 2009 at 23:53

I’m sure she’d do it again if you contacted her. Plus, keep an eye on our Class Schedule – I note both the ones I offer here, plus anything that I help arrange as “field trips” for regular students….

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