Wednesday, May 11, 2011

MAMA Phở Bò Án liêñ

Made By:  Thai President Foods (Thailand)
Tools Required:  Hot Water, Bowl w/ Lid, Spoon & Chopsticks
Snack Size (210 calories per package)
Rating:  :)

(available online through

Today I am trying the instant (Án liêñ) version of a dish that I had never heard of prior to moving to the Seattle area, and that seems to be incredibly popular here--there are dozens of restaurants devoted to serving Vietnamese Phở, which is a rice noodle soup.  Phở Bò simply means "beef Phở."  I have had the privilege of eating in a couple of different Phở restaurants now, so I am ready to see how the home version stacks up!

Inside the packet is our bundle of rice noodles, which seem wider and flatter than traditional Phở noodles.  There are also two soup base packets, one with powdered seasoning and one with a lumpy yellow oil of some sort.  The noodles and packet contents go into our bowl along with 1-1/2 cups of boiling water, and stand covered for three minutes.  Upon lifting the makeshift lid, I am greeted with the distinctive aroma of phở broth!  For those who haven't tried it, the broth in phở is not a typical onion-based beef broth, it is much more herbal in flavor and aroma.  It certainly looks good, so let's see how it tastes!

The noodles do seem a little bit lackluster; they are very soft and seem to clump together.  They do have the same flavor as real bánh phở, which is to say that they are both rice noodles, but the texture is a little off.  The broth, on the other hand, is quite nice; I am having a little bit of difficulty coming up with how to describe the flavor, other than to say it isn't a bad rendition of a phở broth.

Like most Thai instant noodle products, the portion size is quite small.  I am actually under the impression that these aren't necessarily meant to be eaten "plain," though--phở is generally served with a variety of meat, herbs, and sauces, so the flavor can be tailored to the individual.  I am anxious to try these with the same treatment:  some roast beef, sriracha and hoisin sauces, and maybe even some basil and bean sprouts; adding all that would turn them into a pretty decent meal size.  Anyway, if I am wanting to "soup them up" with the same treatment as restaurant phở, that must mean I thought they were okay.  :|

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