Airport Faux-Phở – 195 of 365

Airport Ramen

Let me preface this by saying that I realize a domestic airport terminal in Vietnam is not the sort of launching pad where one embarks on some amazing culinary odyssey.  The selections are geared for the most local of locals and in Vietnam this is normally a good thing.  As a friend and I waited for a pleasure flight we decided to fill up on some phở.

Leave it to an airport to redefine what phở is.  About the only thing this bowl of thin liquid had in common with its street food brethren was copious amounts of msg stirred into the broth.  Now just a side thought here on msg…this factory produced seasoning is so common over here that I have seen a 10kg sack of it at a grocery store in Hanoi.  Think about that for a second.   That is over 22 pounds of sodium on steroids.

A proper phở spawns in a giant cauldron after having simmered for hours and generous piles of freshly sliced beef, rice noodles and herbs complement each other so nicely.  This airport anti-phở is quite a different beast.   I watched the waitress tear open a ramen pack and shake the noodle brick into a bowl of hot water.  What’s ramen without the chemical flavor pack, right?  She dumped that entire sucker in with the noodles and stirred and stirred as if some vigorous spoon action might miraculously elevate the taste.

Now keep in mind here we ordered the beef version, and the menu even depicted a cow.  Of course I would never expect slabs of meat to be hanging from a hook in front of Gate 2, but at the same time I would never expect chopped up hot dog as a proper bovine substitute.   At least they try to dress all this mess up with real lime wedges and fire engine red birdseye chili peppers.

Perhaps I am remiss here in not fully explaining the taste but surely you have eaten both hot dogs and beef ramen before even if not in the same meal.  Just imagine some good old fashioned fusion cuisine and you’ve got airport faux-phở.  MSG in Vietnam even causes the same slimy film across the teeth along with an amazingly quick onset of water retention in every body cell possible.

I’d be willing to bet that starving college students all across America have come quite close to recreating this masterpiece without even realizing similar faux-phở is pawned off at airports an ocean away.  In the land of all things fresh, eating something so prepackaged and processed is strange indeed.

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Categories: Vietnamese Food

4 Comments on “Airport Faux-Phở – 195 of 365”

  1. tmhai
    July 4, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    This is “Mì ăn liền”, not “phở”.

    • July 4, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      Thank you for the clarification and translation meaning instant noodles. The menu called it “pho” in the restaurant though so that is why I added it here as a pho. It was some pretty bad ramen either way.

      • tmhai
        August 5, 2012 at 5:35 am #

        The true Phở has truely good taste . It seems, in your country, soup is not much liquid like Phở, but thickened like food for baby. Is that right?

      • August 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

        if anyone out there can think of a baby food consistency soup in America, please let me know…I’d be curious to actually try one.

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