The past few days I have completely lost my appetite. It’s been quite awful. I have been subsisting on Canada Dry and Powerade for longer than is probably healthy. I don’t know why, but every time I think about food I get more nauseous than I already am. Honest to God there is only one thing I could even fathom keeping down right now: chicken pho.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, onions, herbs and some sort of meat, typically beef or chicken. It’s a popular street food in Vietnam, and was taken international and popularized throughout the world by refugees after the Vietnam War. Pho has definitely become a trendy dish over the last two decades in the United States. At home in LA, I can easily find tons of different Vietnamese restaurants serving pho – each one with its own unique pun serving as its name. There’s “9021Pho” (in Beverly Hills of course), “Pho Show,” “Phorage,” “Good Pho You”…the list goes on. The difference in restaurants does mean a difference in taste – each prepares its pho differently, and you can tell. Somewhere the broth is sweeter, somewhere else the noodles are softer.

Pho has become a staple in my diet, and if I go too long without having it I start craving it like nothing else. It’s so seemingly simple but so delicious. I love the way it’s customizable too – I like to douse mine in Sriracha, hoisin sauce and lime, eating the fresh bean sprouts on the side instead of mixing them in. I have been to one place in Allston that serves good pho: it’s called Lê’s (located directly across the street from White Horse). There’s nothing better than popping over there with a few friends for a quick, hot bowl of soup and Vietnamese iced coffee. Here’s hoping I quell my flu-like symptoms with some pho soon!

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