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What the Pho?

March 2, 2010 at 9:44 am
By Margaret Taylor '10

Pho, the infinitely innuendable dish.  Pho, pronounced “fuh,” not “foe” or “fah,” is a traditional beef-and-noodle soup that has widespread appeal in Vietnam.  And now Carleton College, thanks to the efforts of Tim Viet.

Tim Viet is a club whose mission is “bringing Vietnamese culture and cuisine to the community.”  They organize Vietnamese cultural events on campus throughout the school year as well as teaching Vietnamese language to children in Northfield.  This is the third year they’ve brought pho to Carleton campus, and it’s been a huge success.

Pho is something of an iconic dish in Vietnam.  “What’s special about it is that both poor people and rich people eat it,” says Hang Nguyen ’11, Tim Viet member.  Traditionally, pieces of beef are simmered with marrow bones, onions, cumin, coriander, ginger, and cinnamon for hours.  Since they only had the kitchen facilities of the Cassat Game Room available to them, the students of Tim Viet had to improvise.  They cooked store-bought broth with the spices, then poured it over bowls of beef, rice noodles, cilantro, and scallions.

Out in the game room, people came and got their bowls of pho and garnished them with lemon juice or hoisin sauce.  It was a big hit, and many came back for seconds.

Want to have some pho of your own?  There are numerous recipes available online, so you can enjoy it at home while punning over the name to your heart’s content.  After all, as the poster advertising Pho Night said, “I just had Pho last night and now I can’t stop smiling!”