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Gia Lam

You say faux, I say feu. Everyones got their way of pronouncing pho. And to
be honest, I havent listened closely enough when a Vietnamese speaker orders
to hear how they say it. I had always read that it was like foot minus the
letter T, and I've stuck to this track even if it makes me sound
pretentious. It was only recently that I read how pho is derived from the
French pot au feu. You know, French colonization and all that. Duh.

Despite a fondness for pho I rarely eat it. Vietnamese cuisine is that
way. While rabidly fanatical about banh mi, which isnt sit down restaurant
food, when prowling for a full Asian meal the cleaner, simpler Vietnamese
style usually loses out to a preference for richer, spicier fare, most often
Thai, occasionally Chinese. However, while searching for a wok in Sunset
Parks Chinatown, which is rapidly becoming Vietnamesetown, the blustery
weather was practically begging me to eat a bowl of soup.

I had the dac biet, I almost always go for the special combo thats at
the top of the list. The hodgepodge of parts always differs from place to
place, though flank steak and tendon seem standard. This menu mentioned the
inclusion of navel, which confused me a bit. The pho was very no nonsense,
no choice of sizes, condiments consisted of basil, bean sprouts and lemon.
It seemed like something was missing—maybe sliced chiles?

I've yet to master the art of slamming a bowl. Customers came in after
us, slurped away, and hit the road while I was still sucking noodles. It
made me wonder about the French and all the recent press about joie de vivre
being the secret to thinness. Good quality and long meals savoring each bite
supposedly lend to good health. But fat Asians are still pretty rare and I
don't see a lot of lingering and pondering over each morsel. Maybe I just
visit gauche enclaves.

Gia Lam * 5402 Eighth Ave.,Brooklyn, NY

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