Feeling Under the Weather? It’s Time to Give Pho a Try

Pho (pronounced fuh like the first part of fudge), is something you’ve probably encountered on a street sign or on a post on your coworker’s Facebook wall. This dish, the national soup of Vietnam, has been around since the early twentieth century, but has skyrocketed in popularity among Americans over the past few years.

Pho in modern times, however, isn’t quite the same as pho a hundred years ago. In the beginning, pho was simple: boiled beef, noodles, and broth. Today, this noodle dish can include a wide variety of ingredients and a multitude of spices, all cooked uniquely by individual chefs.

While it is often described as soup, this dish shouldn’t be thought of as a side or starter. Loving Pho says that, in fact, “pho itself is the main course,” later warning that you shouldn’t “expect two bowls of pho made in two separate kitchens to ever taste the same.”

One variety of pho, pho ga, is essentially Vietnamese chicken noodle soup. If you recall your mother’s teachings, chicken noodle soup can cure anything. Pho purportedly has some pho-nomenal benefits, too.

While the true healing properties of chicken noodle soup, regardless of its country of origin, are, perhaps, based in lore if not completely negligible, some people simply swear by the stuff. Here’s what they have to say about pho.

1. It’s All About the Ingredients

An article published by Epicurious called “The Miraculous Bowl of Soup That Can Cure (Almost) Anything” talks about the importance of using healthful ingredients in pho. They suggest “thinly sliced beef for an extra protein punch, antioxidant-rich mushrooms, and everyone’s favorite super green: kale.”

Broccoli, carrots, collards, Swiss chard, mung bean sprouts, tofu, bok choy, and cabbage are added as other delicious, nutritious ingredient options.

2. Hangovers, Be Gone

Dr. Jason Burke, the man behind the infamous Hangover Heaven clinic in Las Vegas, has this to say about pho as a magical hangover cure on a post on Reddit Blog. He says, “It might help reasonably well the next morning,” and that the “effect is really going to depend on how the pho is made and what is in it. I would bet that the more authentic it is, the better.”

Sounds inconclusive, no? When Dr. Burke says more authentic, he may be speaking about the original, simple pho made of boiled beef, noodles, and broth. If so, it sounds to us that it wouldn’t hurt a hungover tummy, but we’re not so sure that it will all-out cure anything.

3. Sniffles? Pho-get About It

We already mentioned mom’s trusty chicken noodle, and everyone who’s had a head cold has tried the Campbell’s remedy. The Kitchn’s article titled “The Best Foods & Remedies to Soothe You When You’re Sick” has this to say about hot chicken-and-noodle-based soups:

“If you’re tired of chicken noodle soup, no worries — you can get relief from any hot, spicy broth-based soup, like pho or ramen. Pour on the spice and turn up the heat for the best results.”

Read More: How to Add Flavor to Ground Beef When You’re in a Pinch