Here's something I think we can all agree on. In this part of the world it can be really dark, cold and rainy. And over the last week the weather has certainly
attained "as billed" status.
Since it's been a long time that we've had a bowl of pho soup (pronounced "fuh"), we scurried out of our condo in between squalls to make a six block walk to Pho on Broadway in Everett and get a steaming hot bowl.
Pho places seem to be everywhere in the Seattle-Everett area. Locally, it started around 1974 when thousands of Vietnamese immigrants relocated to the area after the fall of Saigon in the Vietnam War. The soup originated in North Vietnam in the early 1900s and consists of broth, rice noodles, herbs such as cinnamon and star anise, and meat (usually beef or chicken).
Once we arrived, I decided to go with a bowl of Pho Tai, which includes medium rare slices of beef steak. My wife opted for the Pho Ga (shredded chicken breast). The soup is served very hot and the broth actually continues to cook the thinly sliced meat for an additional couple of minutes after it arrives. Of course one also has to top the dish with fresh basil, bean sprouts, jalapenos and a squeeze of lime to get the phull pho experience. Here's a tip I learned a few years ago: make a flavorful dipping sauce for some of the meat slices by combining the spicy Sriracha sauce and sweet Hoisin sauce that are always on the table.
Harry Tran is the owner/operator of Pho on Broadway and has been at his location on the 1800 block of Broadway for 15 years. I asked Tran what the secret is to making good pho soup. He said, "It's using a lot of the original bones for the broth, whether beef or chicken. I cook my broth for 20 hours to give it great flavor. Never create your broth without that." I also wanted to know what his phavorite pho happens to be. Without hesitation he said, "The Pho on Broadway Special. It's a combination with beef steak, brisket, tendon, meatball and tripe."
In addition to pho soup, Tran also offers various traditional noodle or rice combination plates with beef, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options. And let's not forget the fact that Vietnamese sandwiches (Banh Mi) are on the menu as well. My favorite Banh Mi has sliced pork on a baguette with marinated carrot and daikon, cucumber, cilantro, a bit of mayo and fresh jalapenos.
The restaurant is small but there are around 10 tables and has a very inviting ambience.It's much roomier than it appears at first glance. For those who don't want to get out of their car to get their takeout lunch or dinner, there's even a drive through window. In any event, pho is always an excellent idea on a chilly Pacific Northwest day.
Hours: 10:00am-9:00pm, Monday-Saturday (Closed Sunday)