Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Although Sydney is brimming with Vietnamese restaurants serving up delicious steaming, hearty bowls of beef noodles. It is impossible to convince many of my Singaporean friends that the Vietnamese beef kuih tiaw called Pho, is comparable to the Teochew beef kuih tiaw found in many food courts in Singapore. It has always served me well as an altenative when the hunger for "hawker food" strikes. I have also added it to the "die die must eat" food list for visiting Singaporeans and new Singaporean migrants, but I must admit they are quite distinct in their own merit where taste is concerned. Pho originated in northern Vietnam may have carried French and Chinese influences is most often served in extra-large bowls with a side dish of Vietnamese basil, lime,bean sprouts and chillies that are added to taste just before eating. The broth is traditionally made with beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, onion, and various spices including cinnamon, coriander, cardamom, star anise, roasted ginger and fennel. Pho can come cooked with almost any type of meat (usually beef) and many pho fans like me, prefer to get a smorgasbord of different cuts of beef, including everything from tripe and meatballs to lean raw flank steak with slices of cooked beef. With the kuih tiaw (rice noodles), sprouts, spices, and generous portions of beef that go into the typical bowl of pho, it is one of the more substantial soups around, and can be considered a balanced meal all by itself.