If you want to commit a faux pas go into a Vietnamese Pho restaurant and ask for "that soup thing." At a proper Vietnamese Pho restaurant you should be unceremoniously be tossed into the parking lot on your ignorant butt.
Pho is a word that you should let linger on your tongue for at least a week. Phoooooooooooooooooooooooo. That's about how long the flavors will last if you get a good Pho.
To say that Pho is a beef broth with spices would be to say that the Mona Lisa is a painting of a girl.
Pho is art. Good Pho is high art.
We have a new restaurant in town simply called Pho. It's a small place near a mall. I've driven by it many times and thought I ought to try it out. It looked like my kind of place. Small, simple and probably family owned. I was not disappointed. I was greeted by a family member who handed me an extensive menu of Pho combinations.
I probably glossed over that part. Whereas Pho is the basis of the broth, there are many combinations of additives: beef, chicken, shrimp, veggies and so forth. As a newcomer to this establishment I tried my usual ploy and asked the server what his favorite was.
His eyes lit up. "Oh", he exclaimed, "number 12. Most definitely. It's supreme!"
Well, I'll go by any server who refers to a dish as "supreme" so I ordered it and, in short, was not disappointed. The flavors were subtle but complex, meat and veggies prepared with skill and care. Most of all, though, the Pho base had been crafted. That's the only word to use: crafted. It was a rich combination of beef, ginger, shallots, pepper, mint and a host of spices carefully prepared. I detected a hint of anise.
Did this Pho pass? I'd say so!