Chaotic Pho

Pho Dac Biet

I read these couple of paragraphs in Lucky Peach magazine just a few days ago and loved everything about it. Full credit to author Calvin Godfrey.

Pho purists often claim not to have a favorite spot in Ho Chi Minh City, and some refuse to eat pho there at all. These types delight in telling you that real pho only exists in Hanoi, or, worse, that the genuine article has vanished entirely, like the Javan tiger.

To those in that camp, every deviation from the Northern idea is an affront to good taste. The fresh herbs Saigonese tear into their bowls are stupid, and don’t get them started on the broth. Too much cinnamon. Too much sugar. Too many onions. Too much fat.

These poor bastards view themselves as starving in some sort of dry Platonic cave, watching shadow noodles devoured before a fire that burns behind them. How sad that they either cannot or will not recognize the hot, sexy swamp bubbling all around them — the throbbing anarchy in which the century-long evolution of pho continues in earnest.

It’s got everything: delicious pho, a rant against the whole idea of authenticity, love of evolved order, a Plato reference, and an implied rant against again so-called cultural appropriation. It’s amazing.



Alton Brown’s Eat Your Science Tour

If the tour is coming near you, I recommend you go. Alton is funny, educational and all-around entertaining. And yes, it’s a kid-friendly show in case you wanted to bring the rug rats. If anything I would say it gets a little “rowdy” because he certainly doesn’t do anything to discourage audience participation.

This will give you an idea.


But the one thing that bothered me was Alton’s prodding of the audience to “take a picture of this” or “go ahead and post that.” Phones were out the whole show. Which is awesome because the second screen experience is the kind of bullshit I love. (Bojack Horseman, anyone?) But it can be distracting from what’s actually going on up on the stage, and you get weirdly sucked into third and fourth screens. Turn down your brightness people. Please.