I have a confession…I was late to the Vietnamese food party. The first time I tried pho was only two years ago, and my only regret is that pho had not been part of my life earlier. It’s ramen’s mainland cousin. Similar but by no means the same.
Being half Asian, I know that when a dish tastes incredible yet looks simple, it is almost guaranteed NOT to be simple. I believe that the broth of pho can consist of over 30 ingredients to get the complex, deep flavours. That’s not something I’d be attempting from scratch in a hurry.
So, I was thrilled when I was asked to try PhoMo’s Pho kit and had some very high expectations. I opened the box, which was perfectly cool (by some science-y magic), containing all the wet and dry ingredients and garnishes perfectly separated and categorised.
I would say that cooking it was super easy, but it would be more accurate to say that it was more “pho ingredients, assemble!”.
Following the four steps on the instruction card was so easy. I was so shocked by how few the steps there were that I thought I’d made a mistake!
While I blanched the noodles in hot water and heated the broth to boiling, I placed the garnishes on a plate to be added later.
My partner prefers their steak medium, so after dividing the noodles into bowls, I poured the broth onto the meat so it would have more time to cook in the heat of the broth. On the other hand, I prefer it on the rarer side, so I added the beef on top at the end. The ideal degree of ‘cooked’ was achieved for both bowls.
Now, the taste test; one word, delicious! The broth was flavourful, beef was cooked to my liking, and with the added garnishes, it felt like a restaurant-level dish while being in the comfort of my own home. I was incredibly impressed with PhoMo’s own chilli oil. The deep colour was a great indicator of how well made it was from looking at it in the jar. I love chilli oil and always have my pho with a spicy kick, and the addition of the oil made the dish “just right”.
I have only two notes; one, the noodles needed a quick simmer just before serving as blanching in hot water alone left them a little al dente for me, and two, while the beef was thin, they could have been cut into more bite-sized pieces.
Overall it was a filling and delicious meal, and the clean up was minimal, so there’s an extra point in the pro column there.
Considering how high my expectation was, PhoMo blasted right past them. I’m not a fan of “at home” kits mainly because they always seem to fall short, but this was great. In addition to beef, the kits are available in chicken, prawn, and vegan versions.
I’d write a pun, but they’ve already provided it to me; I would definitely go back PhoMo!
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Chatting Food Contributor: Natalie Williams
Natalie Williams is the founder of Milkstache Magazine. Natalie took her passion for food and created the monthly newsletter which features restaurant and food reviews, an opinion piece and an interview with a founder of an independent food or drink business to tell their story and shine a light on their passion for food and drink.
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