Lions and Tigers and Pho – Oh my!

When given the challenge Vietnamese, I became almost giddy with excitement.  What should I make?  Should I go for something new or tried and true?  Some of the dishes my friends chose to make included Banh Mi sandwiches, fresh spring rolls with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce, and stir-fried vegetables with rice noodles.  I thought, “It’s the Pacific Northwest in February.  How can we NOT have Pho?”  So I set my mind on the tried and true classic Vietnamese meal – Pho.  Then it hit me….am I really going to boil ox tails and beef knuckles for 8 hours?  The answer…no.  Being a mother of 2 small children, I was really tempted to just stop by my local Pho restaurant on the way to my friend’s house…no one would be the wiser and we would all enjoy a delicious bowl of Pho.  And the fact that I was sick with the flu for 4 days….well, no one would really care, right? 

It was the day of dinner club….I had a sudden rush of energy.  I decided to embark on the Pho-making adventure.  I dropped my daughter off at preschool and went to research recipes on the internet.  I found one that was perfect and saved it into my OneNote recipe file.  It only took an hour to simmer with some minimal chopping involved.  With toddler in tow, I set off to Central Market.  Within a ½ hour, I found all the ingredients needed for Pho.  Central Market has a large Asian section and great customer service to boot.  I went about my day and about 2 hours before dinner club, I started making my version of Pho.  After the broth simmered for an hour, I was excited to taste it.  Yuck!  It was bland and bitter at the same time.  How in the world could that have happened?  In true dinner club form, I had to think of a solution…..add water…add bouillon (it happened to be chicken bouillon….but who cared at this point!).  Boil….simmer…..taste again.  Triumph.  Or, well, close to triumph.   Close enough! 

I set-off for my friend’s house to enjoy a delicious Vietnamese meal.  Everything was wonderful.  My pho was pretty good.  If I had to do it all over again…..I think I would just buy it.  Not the point of dinner club, but let’s be honest.  Nothing is better than a giant bowl of steaming hot noodle soup fixed just the way I like for $5.00.

If you made it through this blog and wonder, what in the world does this have to do with the Broadview Neighborhood?  Well, I am a part of this fabulous club and I live here!  We get together once a month to discover new food and cuisine.  This club has been established for over 7 years.  Members have come and gone, but we still stay true to our roots – try to make new and fun dishes….explore world cuisine or other foodie challenges.  We have had great successes (Indian!) and great failures (Holiday favorites, yuck!), but most of all we have fun doing it.

Ingredients were purchased at Central Market in Shoreline.  You can find them at

2 Comments on “Lions and Tigers and Pho – Oh my!”

  1. Loved your story….and yes there are times best to buy already made. I made a dish for super bowl that called for 5 onions sliced and browned….my house smelled like onions for days…I think I still smell it.

  2. I once tried to make Pho from scratch about 10 years ago. I reached the same conclusion as you did.

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