I love Asian grocery stores. I don’t know what 1/2 the vegetables are, which makes it all the more exciting. At any point, I could go in there, buy a random thing I’ve never eaten before, and throw it in a pan and see what happens. Keeps life exciting, you see. I also appreciate the fact that Asian grocery stores exist in an alternate price dimension from regular grocery stores. Like if I want basil? I could go to a regular grocery store and pay entirely too much for a puny container of basil, as apparently fresh basil is considered gourmet or something, or I could go to Tan-A (my Asian grocery store of choice) and get a big poofy bag of basil for a buck at most. This applies also to nori, of the sushi-paper variety. So cheap in a 50 or 100-pack, and costs entirely too much in the measly 10 pack from ye local Kroger.
I always end up with too many bean sprouts. I think it’s physically impossible to eat as many bean sprouts as you can purchase in one quantity, at any grocery store. Kroger has them in plastic boxes, waay too many to eat, and Tan-A has jumbo bags of the stuff. The things go bad so fast too, I’d feel guilty if it weren’t so dirt cheap. Oh well, I’m assisting in adding decomposing materials to the landfill, as inspiration for all of the plastics, or something like that.
In any case, I like pho. I like fake pho, too. I lack the skills to make the broth necessary for real pho, and the one time I bought a jar of paste labeled ‘Pho’, it tasted less then tasty. Untasty, even. So I get snazzy little bouillon cubes in a range of flavors, also from Tan-A. My favorite flavor is stewed duck! I dump that in with pho noodles, then add whatever protein is convenient. I was feeling the tofu this time around ($1.35 + tax per box, not too shabby!). And afterward, I dump in copious amounts of basil and bean sprouts. I, being a wuss, do not add peppers. However, I do add Chiracha sauce (AKA rooster sauce), as well as essential hoisin sauce. Plus a squirt of lime juice, for bonus flavor!
Not exactly real pho, considering the lack of the luscious beef broth and all. But that’s ok, because I like saying ‘faux pho’. If I was making it for someone, I could say it was faux pho fo’ that person. If it was for someone named Forrest, it would be faux pho fo’ Forrest. This is really fun to say. I recommend that you immediately go and make some half-assed pho for your good friend Forrest, so you have an excuse to say it, too.