No soup for you! Like a rerun of the Soup Nazi episode, my pho life has been on hold since moving to Ulaanbaatar.
Two things are not in dispute:
So when I read about another restaurant opening in UB that served beef pho, I wasn’t even slightly excited especially since it wasn’t a proper Vietnamese restaurant.
On a balmy minus 20 degree day, I headed there with no expectations.
Upon entering the cafe, I was overtaken by the warmth of the dining room and the delicious smells of soup and fresh coffee. The Soup Bar as it is called serves many varieties of soup including red lentils, minestrone, cabbage soup, Uzbek chili soup, among others. Feeling a little uneasy by the towering stature of the proprietor, I nevertheless approached the counter, placed my order for beef pho, paid, and stepped aside, hoping I wouldn’t be denied a warming bowl.
Moments later, I was served a tidy bowl of pho along with a fresh roll of bread. While the usual staples of sriracha and hoisin were not offered, visually everything else appeared to be in order.
Understandably trepidatious after being fooled by bad pho so many times, I was hesitant to dive right in. After a few more seconds of pause, I mustered the courage to take my first slurp.
Yum! followed by feelings of relief followed by yum took over as I, like many times before, unconsciously made my way to the bottom of the bowl.
Satisfied, I was ever thankful that the Allied Forces better known as the Soup Bar had liberated me from the clutches of Mongolian soup monotony.