The benefit did not go one or tow ways, though, since the Americans seem to have gained an exquisite addition to its rather varied culinary collection, this one in the form of rice noodles and meat slices immersed in tasteful broth made usually with beef or chicken, with extra garnishes on top. The staple Vietnamese dish is called pho and is said to be the Vietnamese version of the French pot-au-feu, perhaps a result of France’s 100-year colonization of the Asian country. And now, it’s America’s turn to be conquered in culinary terms as Pho Scene becomes more than just a soup noodle dish but an American pho-nomenon, as many fans or “pho-natics,” like to call it.
Why We Like Pho Scene : the Classic Pho
One might be tempted to ask, why the pho craze? After all, America is the place where all cuisines seem to meet. What makes it stand out? Perhaps it has to do with the exotic and extremely flavorful taste or perhaps the cultural experience that comes with eating the native Vietnamese soup noodle. Perhaps it is also the intriguing and interesting mix of ingredients and spices used in the dish that adventurous eaters definitely find their match. Perhaps it is because it is considered a healthy food choice. Or perhaps it’s the price; wherever you go, you can expect to find it to be reasonably priced.
Lastly, it might also be because of its uniqueness. In a world congested with various cuisines and culinary trademarks, it is quite novel and very unique. But most definitely, it’s the instantly recognizable aroma in the steaming broth that fills the whole room when a new bowl is served.
This dish is so unique that it has managed to create a market niche all its own, and now, the trend is called a “pho-nomenon” and avid eaters have turned into loyal followers.
The Mutating Pho: The “New” Pho
The classic bowl of Vietnamese Pho Scene however, has not remained untouched in its U.S. launch. What is served in the United States nowadays is not exactly the same as was first loved in Vietnam. During its migration, the dish acquired many changes, most of which were made to adapt to the more varied and flexible environment of America.
As a result, aside from the classic beef noodle or even the globally accepted chicken noodle some restaurateurs have added other varieties to their menus. Authentic or not, these creative dishes are either variations of the existing pho cousin called “hu tieu”, or just a chef’s own creation to offer non-beef and non-chicken noodle on the menu.
The traditional beef variant may come with flank steak, brisket, tripe, tendon, meatballs made of cartilage and tendon, and the likes. The chicken variety may contain chicken breast, wings, legs, neck, heart, gizzard, and liver, among some other chicken meat parts. These are the most acceptable types to many purist, Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese alike.
The only other acceptable variant is the vegetarian Pho Scene served at Buddhist temples and a few vegetarian restaurants in the Vietnamese community. But changes are inevitable, especially in the free-enterprise American society.
So popular variants of this beloved dish began to take shape, including semi-vegetarian and seafood. Some are served with shrimp meat and others only contain vegetables, all despite the lack of conviction of some pho purists.