Phee, Phy, Pho, Phum

Sunday morning it pours with rain, resulting in first delaying and finally canceling a boating adventure. What to do? Go and eat on Irving.

This is an unexpected bonus for,  as I have explained in a previous post, it is difficult to find an opportunity to eat lunch without dropping a boxing class.

Nonetheless I am gently working my way down the street. I have now covered nearly a block, only another 20 or so to go. I notice that the next block has 8 restaurants. Now I find myself in Loi’s Vietnamese Restaurant or should I say I find myself in Vietnam. There is one other non-Vietnamese but he like me, looks like a tourist in the country.

“The sweeter the apple, the blacker the core. Scratch a lover and find a Pho!”

I start to order but the owner says, “Why not have BBQ?” Good question; I do as he says.  Number 10. Pho Bo Nuong, BBQ Beef with Noodle Soup,  $5.75

I know nothing about Vietnamese food but the word Pho keeps cropping up. I take it that it means soup. This appears to be what Loi’s serves as a quick look around shows that everyone is eating soup.

So I get a  glass of  hot tea, a big bowl of delicious, mildly spicy, beef broth with a helping of rice noodles in it, a side plate of sizzling beef that has been marinated I think in Soy sauce, a plate of bean shoots, lime, fresh chili and basil.

“An open Pho may prove a curse, but a pretended friend is worse.”

I put the vegetation in the soup, which I hope is the right thing to do. It is a perfect meal for a rainy lunchtime. Hot, filling and freshly prepared. In the broth there is a little ginger, cilantro, chopped up scallions and chives. The meal is also copious- I do not finish, er,  which is  unusual.

There is different genus of basil in Asian restaurants here. It has thicker and coarser stems that have a purplish colour. There is also a slightly different taste that I am unable to quantify with words.

I spoil the pleasure with my last mouthful. I eat, without thinking, the one slice of chili that I had inadvertently added to the soup. Gasp!

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2 Responses to Phee, Phy, Pho, Phum

  1. Alan says:

    Looks good. Bit like the noodle soup I go for at my local Thai when I feel the need to have a lunch out. However, they bring me extra chilli paste there – can’t do without that bite!

    The basil thing is complex, so many varieties. The sweet basil of Mediterranean cooking, the Thai basil that you probably had, the Thai Holy Basil, the Thai Lemon Basil. In India the Holy Basil has deity status.

    Best just to eat it and enjoy and hope no thunderbolts arrive.

    Incidentally, how many restaurants are you missing out on Irving? Only three (?) tried so far and you’re on to the next block already. I think we should be told!

  2. It was delicious and incredibly cheap a factor that has a major influence on my taste buds.
    So far have not missed any restaurants. I have eaten in four. There is another Dim Sum Bakery on the block which I may miss as I would like to move away from Asian food. Going is slow as there are sometimes 8 restaurants on asingle block. Go to google maps put in 2249 Irving Street San Francisco and then go to street view. You can then drive down the street checking each restaurant.
    Weather has gone back to glorious again!

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