Got in late yesterday evening after a trip into central London... Not much food in the fridge and no inclination to cook. That wasn't a problem though, as thankfully I live above a fantastic Vietnamese restaurant which serves very good food, very quickly.
I've eaten from this restaurant many times now, and it is consistently brilliant, but Anyway, the particular dish that inspired me to write this post was their excellent Bun Bo Hue. (This picture isn't their Bun Bo Hue, by the way, it's a picture from Wikipedia. Their's looks a lot better, and you get a larger portion.)
Bun Bo Hue is a wonderful noodle soup dish, made with lots of fragrant herbs and mild spices, which makes it a bit more flavorsome than the classic Pho noodle soup.
The reason I wanted to write about this dish was because as I was slurping away, dipping prawn crackers in to help fish out bits of juicy round noodles or chunks of chicken, I thought about my last post, and the power that soup has to heal the soul!
The thing I really like about Bun Bo Hue, and Pho, and any good, well made soup, broth or stew is the stock. But the stock in South East Asian soups in particular seems to have a real purifying quality to it to me that sets it apart.
I guess it has something to do with the goodness that comes from deep within the bones and shells of the meat or fish, and the vitamins and nutrients within the lemongrass, galangal, and other herbs and vegetables.
This stock is both clear and delicate in it's 'weight', yet rich and intense in flavour. It's crisp, yet multi-dimensional, sharp yet has notes of sweetness. it has a spiciness, yet is smooth and never bracing. And it's warm and comforting.
Essentially it has all the qualities of an inviting personality. Except maybe the 'smoothness'. You don't want your soup ending up like Des Lynam.