Did you know that you can get great pho right here on California’s Central Coast? I didn’t think you could for a long time, but luckily I was wrong. Whisk and I had to drive to Santa Barbara one day for work, it was a chilly, rainy day and we wanted something to eat for lunch that would warm us up before we started work. Whisk got on her phone and started searching for different lunch options when she came across a place to get pho, Noodle City in Goleta.
If you have never heard of pho before, or have never had the chance to try it, it is great. Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. It is a rice noodle soup that has many variations. You can have pho made with chicken, beef, beef tendon, tripe, and also shrimp. Usually when you order pho a plate will come out with bean sprouts, lime, and herbs such as cilantro and Thai basil, these are used to mix into your soup. Condiments typically used to flavor your pho would be: Fish sauce, siracha, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili sauce.
Whisk first found out about pho while living in New York, she and a friend would visit a little Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown. At first taste she wasn’t to fond of pho, but after figuring out the right mix of herbs, sprouts, and condiments she ended up loving it. I was first introduced to pho while living in Southern California by my brother. I had never heard of it before, he took me to a restaurant in Huntington Beach and I thought it was delicious.
Noodle City was a good find. It is a small, family run restaurant. Whisk and I each ordered a bowl of pho and really enjoyed it. The beef broth they make is rich and flavorful and is important for the base of a good pho.
We have now been to Noodle City twice and loved it both times. Even though it is about an hour drive for us to get there we will definitely keep coming back, especially during these chilly winter months.
If it is hard to find a place to get pho near where you live you can also make it at home. I tried a recipe from a blog that I like a lot called Steamy Kitchen. I made my own beef stock and used her recipe as a guide. The stock is time consuming to make, but it is worth the effort. I wouldn’t buy boxed or canned beef broth to make pho, the store bought stuff just doesn’t have enough depth or richness to it.
Here is a link to the Steamy Kitchen recipe: Steamy Kitchen Pho
Here is a link to my beef stock recipe: Fork and Whisk Beef Stock