It’s been about seven years since I had my first pho. Before I go on, I should explain for those who have never tried it. It’s a Vietnamese noodle soup with beef broth, meat, herbs and bean sprouts. And if you’re wondering if you are saying it right, you cheeks should turn a little pink when you say “I could really go for a good pho”….
My first pho was at the now closed Baltimore Pho in Hollins Market, Baltimore. They did a weekly neighborhood discount day and I had a few friends who lived in Hollins Market and I worked there, so we would meet together to take advantage of the discount, at first. This time turned into some of the most precious memories I have of my early years in Baltimore, spending time fellowshiping with my New Song girlfriends. No topic was off limits and we provided support, advice and laughter as we navigated life out of college. At least half of us have moved out of Baltimore since. There have been career changes, weddings, big moves, grad school, babies…I will never forget the special times we shared while our lives were in this similar place for a moment of time– of being newly grown up and learning to serve God in Baltimore.
Those times ended and I almost forgot about Pho. Little did I know, it would become one of the key staples of my diet. Because Sung Yoon doesn’t just like Pho– it sustains him. It was one of the first things he told me about himself. It is the meal we always share when we are with his sister. It is the meal he wants after a long week. Or the celebrate his birthday. It was a sign we were in the right place last year, when we found Pho on base in Nebraska–something Sung had never seen before. It’s a way we spend rainy Saturdays or a way to catch up with old friends.
It is so special that I am able to connect this man I love and our life together, to the rich legacy of Tuesdays with my girlfriends before I knew Sung Yoon existed, when I still wondered if I would ever find the right guy. Life is funny that way. As things continue to change for my relationships, as seasons of seeing certain friends regularly come and go, it can be really sad. But, I see that it is such a rich blessing to have friends come into your life at the right time, for the right time. And, ladies, I have a good reason to remember you often.
Here are some of the best phos Sung and I have tried together.
Pho So 1~ Richmond, Virginia (Our first Pho together and the place we go every time we’re in Richmond)
Pho 382~ Offut Air Force Base, Nebraska
Saigon Surface~ Omaha, Nebraska
Vietnam Restaurant~ Philadelphia
Cafe Pho Ga Thanh Thanh~ Philadelphia (Our first time trying chicken pho! Only I didn’t know the difference….)
Pho 75~ Philadelphia (loved by Anthony Bourdain and also us)