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Pho: Classic comfort food at Than Brothers

 

Last updated 1/22/2021 at 12:07am

Maria Montalvo

The dishes at Pho Than Brothers is comfort food for a chilly day.

Sometimes, especially on a chilly, cloudy day, nothing sounds better than a big bowl of noodles in steaming hot broth.

Pho, the Vietnamese soup traditionally made with broth, rice noodles, herbs, and beef, is one of my favorite dishes to satiate this craving. Considered Vietnam's national dish, it has become a staple all across the world, and seems as popular here as it is in Vietnam.

Because I no longer eat beef, it has made it a little harder to enjoy pho regularly, but luckily, most pho restaurants now offer wonderful vegetarian, chicken and even seafood versions of pho. (For those who do eat beef, I wholeheartedly recommend trying all of the many variations. Not only is the beef broth rich and satisfying, but the textures of the different cuts of meat really do add to the experience.)

Speaking of pho restaurants, Than Brothers Pho has been cooking great pho for 25 years and has locations in Lynnwood and Edmonds. I had forgotten that Than Brothers opened here in Edmonds, until I mentioned my urge to find a flavorful bowl of pho with my friend Lili.

She and I share the love of a well-made meal of comforting, delicious ingredients, and it does not get more classic than pho and Than Brothers' approach to it.

My husband and I ordered two of their largest bowls, because no amount of pho is ever enough – the Pho Ga (shredded chicken) and Pho Chay (vegetarian). Both are an absolute steal at $6.95, as are all of the bowls.

You open your to-go bag to two huge and incredibly fragrant containers of broth, along with a full container of the garnish (bean sprouts, jalapenos, more fresh cilantro, and the sweet chili sauce) and another separate container with the perfectly cooked noodles, onions, and fresh cilantro (and your choice of mains).

Building your own bowl, with your version of the right balance of toppings and sauce, is one of the best parts of pho. Everyone can personalize the bowls of goodness to their liking.

My vegetarian bowl had bright green, fresh broccoli, mushrooms, tofu (perfectly seared), and carrots. The brown sauce (chili sauce) had just the right spice level to enliven the toppings while not overwhelming the broth. I savored every bite, as the tofu maintained its texture no matter how long it took me to eat. My husband's bowl with chicken was equally delicious, and I was nice enough to share some of my veggies. We sat happily eating, slurping the broth and piling the noodles on to a spoon, relishing the experience of pho.

Even though the massive bowls of pho are sufficient to meet even the biggest appetite, two spring rolls are a necessary addition. Their fresh spring rolls crunch when you bite into them, with just the right amount of crispy lettuce to go with the shrimp, tofu, noodles, and herbs. The accompanying peanut sauce is so good that I keep any extra to make salad dressing later.

The mini-cream puff that comes free with every bowl is the perfect end to a somehow reassuring meal – that hot, rich broth, the hearty rice noodles, and the aroma of the herbs. We settled in to watch a movie, feeling warm, nourished, and cared for, as you should from a traditional comfort food.

The Edmonds location of Than Brothers is at 22618 Highway 99 in Boohan Plaza. The Lynnwood location is at 16809 Highway 99, not too far from Taqueria Puebla. We sure are lucky to have so much great food in our area. Both are open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., because pho is delicious any time of day.

 

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