The Vietnamese food is a relatively latest addition to my Asian food preferences - with Japanese food as number 1. It took me a long summer to get used with the special taste of herbs and spices added at the spring rolls and the vegetables soups, but the cold coffee was a love at first sight. I keep trying new and new foods but I feel that probably, until I will go to Vietnam and enter the spirit of the place and see the original ingredients, I will still not be a faithful lover.
The Pho Book, by the Vietnamese food expert Andrea Nguyen brought me closed to this special Asian cuisine. 'Rice is the dutiful wife you can rely on, we say. Pho is the flirty mistress that you slip away to visit'. With such a description is hard not to want to know more, including about how to make your own Pho at home - not as difficult as one may think.
What I appreciated about the book in the first place, is the careful research, including in Vietnam, and the anthropological investigation about this meal. Based on a deep knowledge and years of practice - her mother has a Pho restaurant too - the reader is offered more than a cookbook, but a rich food story book. Useful - particularly for a reader outside the Pho-realm - it is also that there are many details about preparations and possible meal matches.
Surprinsingly for me, Pho can be eaten any time of the day, in various combinations, including meatless, a variant which 'seemed surreal, if not as absurd as a drone aircraft'. However, instead of meat one can use tofu or seitan variants. Anyway, the 'ultra' traditional Pho has: broth, noodles and cooked beef. 'A bowl of steamy pho and a glass of ice coffee is an unbeatable Viet food pairing'. The author also recommends coffee with coconut milk, which I tried once but was not happy with.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in Vietnamese food, and for any foodie writing lovers in general.
Disclaimer: Book offered by the publisher via NetGalley.com