Pho: The Big Bowl of National Pride That is Conquering the World


While pho makes up at least one meal of every day for almost the entirety of Hanoi, the rest of the world has only recently caught onto the steaming wonder that is Vietnam’s iconic soup. Back in 2015, The Washington Post reported that global sales of Asian food – including Vietnamese food – had increased over 600% since 1999. Later that year – 2015, that is – CNN voted Vietnam’s Nem Ran as one of the top ten dishes in the world, while Voice of America (VOA) even predicted that pho could become the next pizza or sushi of America on the grounds that Vietnamese immigration to America had helped to nurture an ever-growing taste for the slow-cooked meaty broth.

Que – fried, doughy breadsticks typically served with pho.

Then by April 2016, Japan went further, designating April 4th as the national “Day of Pho” in appreciation for the everyman’s lunch of Vietnam – but now, more than ever, Vietnamese food is topping the charts around the world. London is already awash with restaurants hawking pho at savagely high prices by contrast to the authentic dishes we see in Vietnam.

This is all following the news that pho came out sixth out of the best 15 cheap eats as rated by British travel guidebook gurus, Rough Guides. Given that Rough Guides has covered over 120 countries across numerous books and guides, these guys have seen far more than their fair share of global cuisine and who am I to argue? A big beefy bowl of noodles, broth, herbaceous tangs and tingling spices is a hearty start or end to any day – it is, as the late great Anthony Bourdain referred to as “a textural Disneyland of a little chewy, a little tender and a little meaty.”

Please excuse the pho-cking terrible puns, but you can now seek out this un-pho-gettable dish almost anywhere in the world and based on these trends, it looks like the international appetite for pho is only going to grow as Vietnam expands economically.

© HOT TABLE. Photography by Mi Nguyen.

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