My Experience Trying Pho for the First Time
Pho comes with many complex flavors, including many exotic flavors from Vietnam. The first time I tried pho was on Sunday, November 3rd. I visited Com Tan Thanh in Newark and was amazed with all the options of food on the menu. This is because Alyssa Tu (Grade 12), familiar with the cuisine, recommended for me to eat there.
I ordered the Pho Chay, which was veggie pho. The main flavor came from the clear, but flavorful broth. It was infused with traditional spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. In addition, the pho included thin rice noodles (not shown in picture). They were the real bulk of the dish. Other than that, there were sauteed vegetables included, such as broccoli, carrots, and tofu. This enhanced the flavor and texture of the dish. I added some sriracha to my pho to add some heat, and it tasted really good.
Photo By: Shomili Madabhavi
Photo By: Sonali Whittle
I went there with Sonali Whittle (Grade 12). She ordered the Pho Chin Soup, which was beef pho. It was almost identical to the veggie pho, but included slices of beef for a meaty flavor. In addition, there were mint leaves, jalapeno peppers, bean sprouts, and lime served on the side. She described it as, “Definitely very good. The noodles were soft and the broth had just enough salt. It tasted good with hot sauce.”
Taking everything into consideration, eating at Com Tan Thanh was a really good experience. When I walked in, the overall atmosphere was very relaxed. There were high-beamed ceilings with decorations on every wall. Since it was a sit-down restaurant, there were also comfortable, warm lights hanging from above, making the seating area more appealing to guests. They had great service as well. After ordering our food, it took about ten minutes for the pho to be made and served. Their staff was great at keeping the tables clean before and after we were done eating. Nobody likes their dining experience to include dirty tables, trash, and sticky surfaces. Finally, the presentation of the food itself was very nice. They made it appealing to the eye, so we couldn’t wait to start eating.
When asked what she likes most about Vietnam food, Alyssa Tu says she, “likes that there is a wide variety of Vietnamese food (rice combinations, soups, snacks, etc), and that every type of food has its individual flavor and origin.” When asked specifically about pho, she said, “I like how pho can vary according to what area of Vietnam you get it from.” This shows that every area of Vietnam has its own traditional flavors, shown in the different types of pho and vietnam food at the restaurant. Overall, I definitely recommend Com Tan Thanh for anyone wanting to try or eat Vietnam food! They provided affordable, delicious food
This staff reporter graduated in 2020.
Shomili Madabhavi is a senior at Washington High School. She grew up in Fremont, California. This is her first year writing for the Hatchet, and has contributed to many articles in the A&E, News, and Sports section. Outside of school, she enjoys hanging out with friends, watching TV, and napping. In the future, Shomili plans to pursue computer science at a 4 year university.