Eugene Cho

pho shizzle

my first experience with “pho” was about 10 years ago.  what is pho?  it’s the ‘traditional vietnamese beef noodle soup.’  i didn’t enjoy it.  nor did i the 2nd or 3rd time.  then things changed.  it has since grown to be ‘comfort food.’  i attempt to go weekly to a local pho restaurant called than brothers – seattle’s version of the soup nazi known for horrible service, tasty cream puffs, cheap prices, and damn good pho.  if you’ve never had pho, you’re missing out.  in fact, every new person i’ve introduce to pho suddenly becomes a pho-natic.  

did you know? 

Ph was born in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. The dish was heavily influenced by both Chinese and French cooking. Rice noodle and spices were imported from China; the French popularized the eating of red meat. In fact, it is believed that “ph” is derived from “pot au feu” a French soup. Vietnamese cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that is uniquely Vietnamese.

Refugees fleeing Vietnam in the Spring of 1975 brought with them their hopes and dreams of a better life. They also brought their cultures and cuisine, of which pho has become the most popular among Americans.

according to the most recent tabulation, there are 861 located pho restaurants (and counting) around the united states. the state of washington boasts the third highest pho restaurants only behind california and texas.  i would not be surprised if there are more pho restaurants sprouting up in seattle than there are new churches but that’s a different blog post.  let’s just stick to pho.

i just discovered an entire website dedicated to pho fever.  and on this website, you’ll find such links as pho finder, pho fashion, and even a pho blog.

pho shizzle.

Filed under: seattle

11 Responses

  1. mihee says:

    haha pho-tastic. my parents hate it, but i love it. i fell in love immediately…my first bowl was after a long day of snowboarding…we got into denver, and it hit the spot. the best pho i’ve had out here still doesn’t compare to denver…though a place in boston, and one in philly comes quite close.
    yum!!!

  2. Blake says:

    Yes, pho is good stuff. Can’t remember who introduced me to it but it has definitely been in the last year or so. Love it! 😀

  3. Sarah says:

    I had the famous Than Bros last week when we were in town. Definitely comfort food!

  4. Jeff says:

    a friend of mine bought me a “pho king” tshirt, because one of my iv staffers started calling me the pho king (we’re a mature bunch.) it’s pretty sweet, but i’ve thus far refrained from wearing it to church =).

  5. daniel so says:

    i totally relate to your pho-conversion story. i didn’t really like it the first couple of times i tried it. so i stayed away from it for awhile. what won me over was the witness of a pastor, who ate his bowl of pho as if it were his final delicious meal on earth. this normally very circumspect man was sweating, mouth-breathing, and slurping away, so lost in his pho-delirium that he was oblivious of anyone else around him (along with customary table manners). “i must have that feeling” i thought to myself. thus began my love for pho.

  6. Great post title, btw… I saw it in my gmail RSS feeder and totally had to respond. =)

    Me and Peter Hong used to go out for pho all the time, and I miss it. And the thing is, it’s not that there isn’t good pho here in Portland (there probably is) but I feel like I need to do it WITH somebody, and I don’t know anybody in my circle who’s really into it. I might just drag my wife since she likes to try new things, but most of the good pho places probably don’t have great ambiance, which she is really into.

    Either way, though I have to give it a shot somewhere… pho better or pho worse.

  7. e cho says:

    jelani, i understand but if you truly want to understand the way of the pho(rce), you must learn to also be one with the pho.

    dang, this is getting silly now.

    let me just say this to the world wide web: i came, i posted, and i then went to have pho for lunch today. that’s pho real.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I never knew the glories of pho until I came to Quest and my fellow parishioners opened my eyes to the beauty that is the soup. Than brothers was the first place they took me too. My life will never be the same.

  9. […] with a group of 1G families. Usually, we will end the evening by sharing a nice meal together (pho, even!).  At the same time, in my ministry to second-generation (2G) students there is a deep […]

  10. […] eat out too much.  Lugging around three kids limit our options a little.  For us, gourmet food is pho shizzle.  So, when guests and visitors ask us for our recommendations where to eat, we run out after […]

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

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While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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