So the other day as I was doing my five mile run on the treadmill, I noticed the Food Network channel displaying over my head. The first thing I thought to myself was, “Why is it that gym tends to showcase food channels?” I suppose it’s a bit masochistic on my part to watch that glistening warm apple pie coming out of that hot oven, or that drizzling hot fudge trickling down on that perfect milky sundae. Call it a self-defeating purpose if you will. Every time I come out of the treadmill, I get hungrier than ever.
However, my eyes weren’t indulging in delectable deserts that day. Instead, my eyes were feasting on what appears to be an instant nostalgic reminiscent of my childhood favorite dish, Vietnamese Pho! That’s right, that white gelatinous rice noodle neatly cuddled next to that savory bo vien, drenched in that sweet beef bone broth. The smell of sweat on my skin was soon replaced by the tender aroma of pixelated pho emitting from the 20 inch plasma television right down to my flaring nostrils.
Why must you tempt me, food network? It’s bad enough that you are being broadcast at the gym, but to showcase one of my favorite dishes on television? Now, you are just patronizing me. However, as my eyes continue to be glued onto the television screen, I noticed that this wasn’t your typical Pho. Rather, this was a 9 lbs bowl of Pho (meat, soup, noodles included)! But you’re probably wondering, how big exactly is 9 lbs of Pho?
Apparently the show was called “Outrageous Food”, whose purpose is to “unearth the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping, occasionally heart-stopping foods in the country.” The show is hosted by Tom Pizzica (such a fitting name since it phonetically sounds like pizza), who essentially travels around the U.S. looking to find unique restaurants that carries “outrageous food” in their menu. In this episode, Pho 87, located in Las Vegas, just so happens to be one of Tom Pizzica’s stop.
What amazes me is the growing trend of Vietnamese “Pho Challenges” in this country. For instance, we have the popular Pho Garden in San Francisco, Pho King 2 in Sacramento, Bistro B in Dallas, Texas, and now, Pho 87 in Las Vegas. What is it about large consumption of Vietnamese cuisine that attracts the hearts of Americans (or stomachs for that matter)? What ever happened to the traditional hot dog or pie eating contests?
I suppose it’s a good culinary exposure, bridging the gap between America’s food-eating contest hype and traditional Vietnamese cuisine. But for those who are not familiar with Vietnamese taste buds, I recommend enjoying Vietnamese food in a satiable portion. Take the time to allow this 100 year-old tradition of a warm bowl of soup to marinate your body and soul. I mean what’s next? Nuoc mam drinking contest?
Share your thoughts on this Pho eating phenomena.