Vegetarian Pho!

Takeaway: It’s good to trying something new!

Since my schedule had run amok, I went to “lunch” before 9 a.m. at my favorite Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant. My “usual” wasn’t being served yet, so I pointed at a steaming bowl my neighbor seemed to be ecstatically devouring. I quickly realized it was “pho,” the national soup of Vietnam. It’s so popular that it had made the Oxford Dictionary (described as: A Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices adding noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken.) I will occasionally eat meat, so I’d tried it a few times in cafes and on the street. But vegetarian pho? I’m happy to report that I’d never tasted a better pho.

Know what ingredients are in your meal

The key to a healthy, and tasty pho, really depends on what you put in it—my street pho likely contains more salt and fat than optimal. It has a soup stock made by cooking beef, pork or chicken bones. But good restaurants remove the excess fat at the top when cooking these bones, making their meals both healthy and delicious. I found a good analysis of the nutritional value of traditional pho here. The vitamin A, D, calcium and iron are a real plus, and that can improve by your choice of herbs and vegetables.

I found a lovely recipe for pho from Vegetarian Times. When I’m back in Florida, I’ll often use the Vegetarian Times recipe. But for now, I’m blessed to be in Vietnam, with an amazing little vegetarian restaurant serving the best pho I can imagine.

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Scott Douglas Martell is a writer, teacher and coach. His most recent novel is The Hyena Man, an African romantic suspense. His blogs often focus on Ethiopia and Vietnam, world traveling, and counseling for a more joyful life, with topics such as brain health and spiritual awareness.

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