What’s better than a big bowl of soup on a cold Syracuse day? A big bowl of Vietnamese soup!
Pho–pronounced “fuh”– is not only fun to say, but fun to eat. Pho is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup made of a beef broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat. Here in Syracuse, you can find yourself some pho on the city’s North Side (518 Kirkpatrick Street), a place called New Century.
I know what you’re thinking–the North Side is quite the trek for such a simple-sounding meal. Well, my friends, the simplicity is the beauty of pho. Each bowl is a blank slate ready for you to customize. You get a side of bean sprouts, Thai basil, chili peppers, and lime. Add as much or as little as you like, but take my advice and be easy on the chili peppers. Top it off with some Hoisin sauce and Sriracha (the god of all hot sauces) and you’ve got yourself a big ol’ bowl of PHUN!
The portions are huge! For $7.95, you can get a bowl of pho with rare steak, beef meatballs, brisket, tripe, and tendon. Even though these meats may be different from what we’re all used to, they’re full of flavor and you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not try them all at least once. Yes, the meatballs might LOOK like cow testicles, I promise you they are not. There’s a reason Anthony Bourdain says he can’t live without pho.
Being from New York City, I expected to turn my nose up at Vietnamese food found in central New York. New Century quickly put me in my place. The pho is flavorful and authentic, and the menu has everything from spring rolls to Vermicelli (a Vietnamese noodle bowl served with meat and an egg roll) to fish still on the bone!
I stuck to pho because I phocking love it. I ordered the #15, which comes with rare steak and meatballs for under $8.00. I throw a ton of bean sprouts in my pho, along with some ripped up basil and lime juice. I stay far away from those peppers, looking to Sriracha for the heat. One or two squirts of hoisin and I’m on my way to pho Heaven. You are guaranteed to look like a dumbass while you eat this, so skip the self-consciousness. But, if you want to feel like a pho rock star, refer to this instructional video.
I will warn you, New Century isn’t about the ambiance. The restaurant is bare and the servers definitely do not coddle you. But, if you get your big boy pants on and decide to venture into parts of Syracuse unknown, the soothing broth will be enough to make up for the lack of decor and service.
How could you phocking resist?!?!
– Olivia Dibs