For the Love of Pho



It’s no question that even during the summer months here in Seattle, it can be wet, cold and especially dreary. This time of year brings about that ‘not wanting to think about doing anything and simply enjoy the summer sun whenever it appears’ lackadaisical attitude. Food is something that becomes especially important during these months as we begin to eagerly seek out places that serve those coveted ‘homemade’ dishes. While these comfort foods can vary from soup, to hot tea, even to Mac and Cheese, one type of food that gets people motivated to eat – even in the summer months — is a delicious Vietnamese dish called pho. Located just two blocks away from Bellevue Square Mall is a restaurant that caters to those summer customers searching for something to warm the cockles of their hearts.

Given the fun, easy to remember name of “What the Pho!” this hidden gem of a restaurant is one of the best places to get a bowl of pho, and it’s located right next door to many people. Pho, pronounced ‘phu’, is a type of noodle soup that is usually served with beef or chicken and comes with a plate of basil, lime, bean sprouts and peppers that you can add to your liking.

This dish originated in the Nam Dinh province of northern Vietnam about a century ago. There cooks sought to please both the locals with the Vietnamese noodles and French colonizers by adding beef or chicken to the soup. The broth was usually prepared very early in the morning by simmering beef or chicken bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, and spices together for hours. Though a ton of preparation went into the broth, the final amount was enough to serve customers throughout the day until the restaurant closed for the evening.

“What the Pho!” has a wide variety of entrees, appetizers and drinks on its menu, and most of the entrees cost under $10, making his dish perfect for anyone who’s on a budget. One reviewer wrote on that, “The Pho was very good. The chicken had nice big pieces of breast meat, the veggies fresh and the broth delicious. I will be back.” With a fast turn-around service and a menu that caters to lovers of pork, beef, and chicken, locals of Bellevue have been known to flock here at any point during the year.

With each sip, pho soup can fill you up with delicious meat and noodles, as well as bring a smile to your face. The broth, however, is what makes these two different ingredients come together to beat out some of the dreary, overcast Seattle evenings. So when looking for something warm to eat on a blustery summer evening, instead of trying the usual comfort foods, be sure to try out “What the Pho!”…it’ll be worth it!