Tucked away in a strip center in Sugarland, Pho Mia noodle house, with its simple menu and spacious dining room, is serving up the best Pho for miles.
There is only a handful of soups I would be satisfied eating as a standalone meal, a good French onion, Mexican Pozole and Pho. Pho is a spicy Vietnamese rice noodle soup that is simply the most basic of dishes, yet it holds a wealth of history and culture in its recipe.
When deciphering what constitutes a good noodle house, you have to look at the little things, mainly because the soup you get at one noodle house will taste fairly the same at a hundred others.
First things first when walking into a noodle house, I always check to see if they make limeade. It may sound a bit strange, but it just makes the flavor of the soup that much more enjoyable and having that contrast of sweet and spicy is always great.
At Pho Mia they always make their limeade to order, and it is never too sweet. There have been other places I have visited where the sugar just sits at the bottom without being mixed and you are left with a straw full of sugar crystals and water. You would think that if millions of children can sell this stuff every summer on street corners, it should be a no brainer for a full-grown adult.
Some may disagree, but the broth is what truly makes and breaks the soup. Though most places stick to pretty much the same recipe, there are those few places out there that like to over do it with the spices, which leaves you with indigestion in about 20 minutes. The broth is typically flavored with toasted coriander, anise, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.
At Pho Mia, the broth is light, yet full of flavor. The seasonings have been integrated into a single taste that is well balanced, and though you may try to point out the distinct flavors, you will probably be to busy enjoying it to care.
First time “Pho-ers” be warned, a proper Pho is served scolding hot. This is essential for the condiments. Cilantro, Basil, Mint, jalapeno, bean sprouts and limes are added to the broth by the customer, and the heat from the Pho allows the ingredients to steep and permeate the soup like a tea. Pho is best enjoyed if you are in a hurry and plan to eat fast.
Pho Mia always has fresh tasting bean sprouts and herbs, and this will make the soup taste that much better in the end and add texture as well. This is important when you have a dish that relies so heavily on fresh herbs and produce, and it’s for this reason that freshness is a priority at Pho Mia.
I am not sure why I prefer it (maybe it is my Mexican pallet and willingness to eat any part of the cow), but I always ask for Pho with soft tendon. In this dish, cow tendon is pressure cooked to the point where it feels like a juicy hunk of cartilage. I recommend you try it at least once.
Now that all the preparations for the soup have been made, grab fresh herbs and produce, some soft tendon, a nice glass of ice-cold limeade and some extra srirachi sauce, you are ready to enjoy.