Phở beats the devil out of a bowl of Wheaties; this is the breakfast of champions
I ask the young woman who brings us refills on the coffee what this wonderful soup is called, feeling like a person from San Antonio walking into a New York deli and asking what a bagel is. She opens her mouth and puffs at me. I can’t tell if it’s a word or an expression of Vietnamese disgust at American ignorance.
“Pardon me?” I say.
She puffs at me again. Actually it’s not so much a puff as a fuff. Maybe a fuh.
“Fuh,” she says once more, as if to an especially slow child.
I try it.
Later I learn what I am eating is called phở, pronounced “fuh.” It is the national breakfast dish of Vietnam. Later I seek out and find phở in all American cities in which Vietnamese have settled, including an outstanding phở parlor in Austin where cowboy/trucker/good ole boys in gimme caps and Stetsons line up at opening time. Later I even learn how to make phở, but at this moment all I know is that phở beats the devil out of a bowl of Wheaties; this is the breakfast of champions. We finish, pay up, and leave. I tell Josh I am thinking of moving to Da Nang. I need to be near phở.
Award-winning Journalist, Mother, Survivor, and Then More
Linda Ellerbee was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992. After her double mastectomy she went on to publish several books, including three spirited memoirs and an eight volume “Girl Reporter” series for young readers. She also writes a syndicated newspaper column and works as a keynote speaker.