Banh Mi? Oui, Oui

What’s packed with flavor, can be eaten on the go, is made fresh right before your eyes and only costs $2.50… did I mention that it comes on a delicious French baguette?
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A Cult Classic From Hanoi: Cha Ca La Vong

There is a restaurant in Hanoi that has a one-dish menu. Imagine that, a restaurant that serves just one thing! The restaurant is called Cha Ca La Vong 14 Cha Ca, Hoan Kiem; 84-4-3825-3929, which also happens to be the name of the classic fish dish that they serve. This tiny joint is still run by the descendants of the dish’s creator, and has been cooking Cha Ca La Vong for over 100 years.
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What In The World Are Banana Blossoms & More Importantly, How Do You Eat Them!?

You know when you happen upon something unfamiliar and then you encounter it repeatedly? I called it serendipity or fortunate happenstance, but science has another term for it, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. Mine is currently banana blossoms. Keep Reading!

Ta Da! Café Sua Da!

Envision a bright summer day you are on a drive with your windows rolled down. The scent of fresh air and flora fill your lungs while sunshine warms your shoulders. The rhythmic rumble of pavement is felt beneath your car tires as you wind through the countryside. Glancing at the passing scenery you will most certainly see stalks of indigo flowers dotting the roadsides.
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Phở….sounds like “fuh”

Some say that chicken noodle soup feeds the soul but for me it’s straight up Phở! Seriously, how can one say no to a slow simmered broth made from charred onions, beef bones, oxtails, anise, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and ginger?  This delish broth is served in a large bowl with a heaping parcel of white rice noodles to slurp up.   You also have your choice of thinly sliced flank steak (cooked or raw), tripe, tendon, brisket, meatballs or less traditionally chicken or pork.  Accoutrements include, mung bean sprouts, culantro, Thai basil, white onions, lime, fish sauce, Sriracha and hoisen sauce.
Phở is best eaten with chopsticks and little sighs of joy between each slurp of rice noodle and soul satisfying broth.

Eventually, when I am less daunted by bone broth I will attempt my own home-cooked version of Phở .  But for now where I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan we have a few Phở places to check out… (like 4).  I recommend two dives–either Pho Sac Trang on Div-Ave. or Pho99 on 28th St. SW.  For those of us who are not too adventurous when it comes to restaurant ‘ambiance’ consider this your warning when I say dive.  Personally I’m okay with a little hole in the wall interior so long as the food is fantastic and fresh!

Phở broth can also be purchased in Asian markets much like chicken stock…

Pho stock, photo from google images

So, now that Phở has made a it’s move into mainstream America please extend nhiều nhờ (many thanks) to Vietnam the country in which pho hails from!