Monday, March 24, 2008

Pho My God!

I had my first experience with Vietnamese food tonight. I also had my first experience with tripe, and with soft tendon for that matter. We drove up to see my grandfather earlier today and then even farther up to visit with my sister. After some shopping in Macon (finally picked up a copy of Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential) we drove back down the road to the Air Force base town where she lives to eat at a Vietnamese place she likes for some Pho. I really enjoyed it. Judging from the dishes that we got, Vietnamese is kind of like a mixture of Chinese (at least what we think of as Chinese) and Thai, but I'm fully aware that that is an overly simplistic and possibly misleading comparison. I had the Pho (rice noodle soup) with flank steak, tripe, and soft tendon. I'm not really sure what possessed me to try the more "exotic" cuts of meat in that Pho option, but I'm glad I did. The tripe was cut into really small little ribbons and it had a texture somewhere between the bean sprouts without the fibrous quality and the noodles. There's not a whole lot of flavor in the tripe so it ended up being just a very positive textural element. The soft tendon wasn't quite as pleasant of a surprise, but it wasn't off-putting either. It was a bit like a soft gummy candy in texture, but wasn't anything you wouldn't expect in flavor. The rest of the soup was incredibly tasty.

The best part is that they bring out a tray of extra ingredients with the soups. There were a couple slices of green chili pepper, a lime wedge, cilantro, basil leaves, and bean sprouts. After shredding cilantro and basil and squeezing lime into my soup, my fingers still smell awesome a couple of hours later. I love me some lime and basil.


Chris said...

Well, sure, how bad could a soup be with lime, basil and cilantro?

But I'm glad you told me tripe has no flavor, because I'd rather not find out for myself. It sounds really gross, but then again maybe it just suffers from really terrible PR.

mickey said...

Sounds pretty good to me.

You'll like Kitchen Confidential, but then you probably already knew that and that's why you got the book.

Meaghan said...

I hate to break it to you, but you've probably already had tripe at some point in your life when you ate a hot dog. I know you get a certain kind of hot dog now, but if you ever ate one at a cookout or camping with other people, chances are, you ate tripe. You probably didn't taste it though. The Vietnamese food sounds interesting!

Courtney said...

I hope you like Kitchen Confidential. It's a funny book. There was a surprisingly good Vietnamese restaurant where I lived in Kentucky, and I went there often for lunch with my coworkers. Did you try Vietnamese coffee? Next time you should -- it is delicioso.

Jacob said...

Chris: Pretty much. The soup was awesome. I'm glad I tried what I had but given that the prices are all the same, I'll probably go for the shrimp and scallop next time.

Mickey: Your and Courtney's recommendations last time it came up are part of the reason I squealed when I saw it without looking for it this time.

Meaghan: It doesn't count if it's an unidentifiable part of a processed meat product. I'd have to mark roaches off my To-Be-Tasted list otherwise, and I'm not sure I want them off the list. The "certain kind" I last ate were the natural casing Boar's Head, which meant I ate intestines.

Courtney: I almost tried the Vietnamese coffee but it was almost 9 p.m. and I knew I wanted to be able to sleep when I got home.