Post 5: A Bowl at Pho Lan Was All It Took

It all started years ago when Pho Lan was located on Hwy 34 in my hometown of Loveland, Colorado. A friend, and Pho Lan disciple, John Metcalf, took me there. I’ve been eating pho at Pho Lan ever since (and followed them to their location on 29th Street in Loveland).

Art by John Metcalf on the wall at Pho Lan. And today, I sat below this art, at John’s table.

I did not grow up with pho. Which makes it ever weirder that it has become one of my crave-able comfort foods. It’s basically, Vietnamese noodle soup, pronounced fu not foo.

Let’s face it, Asian food can be intimidating. Even with a mother who is half Korean, I didn’t grew up on much Asian food. To this day, I can’t use chopsticks (although severe carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t help).

In the past, I didn’t want to venture into an Asian food restaurant alone, not knowing what to order or how to eat what I ordered. Now, in my forties, I have a more WTF attitude when it comes to food. I’ll eat anything at least once, whether I know what I am doing or not. It’s a good and bad trait.

Many bowls of pho later, I still am not sure I am doing it right. I throw in extra jalapenos, top it with all the sides I am given, and I get that stuff into my mouth however I can. Sometimes noodles hit me in the face as I slurp. I am quite sure that Emily Post would say that it’s not ladylike to have pho broth dribbling off one’s chin. This may be why I often eat pho alone.

As I’ve written above, pho is Vietnamese rice noodle soup. An array of meats come in the hot broth. At Pho Lan, I order #10, a pho with rare beef and meatballs. It’s my go-to.

Pho was originally a breakfast food for Vietnamese farm workers. When I first became fascinated in it, I found an excellent article about the subject. I should have saved it because now I can’t find it, but this soup has a rich history. I’ll point you towards this article in “Eater” for more.

Pho Lan is comfortable for me. It’s at order at the front type of establishment that serves a variety of phos. It also serves some stuff that’s not pho, but I’ve never paid much attention to that part of the menu. However, I know it exists because Ryan, my husband, has joined me at Pho Lan, for non-pho food. He’s not a huge noodle soup fan. His loss.

Pho here will set you back about 10 to 12 dollars plus tip. This is pretty popular spot and they seem to do a steady take out business. My pho has always come quickly and piping hot. That’s the thing about pho, it should be serve hot, so I do tend to crave it more in the Colorado winter.

Since my discovery of pho, I have explored other pho restaurants in Northern Colorado and Denver, but I look forward to finding many more. They’ll have to live up to the tasty broth and excellent meat at Pho Lan, and they must give me extra jalapenos.

Pho Lan, 296 E 29th St. Loveland

They do not have a website or Facebook page. Just go! Give pho a try.

And if you have recommendations of where I should go to eat gread pho in Northern Colorado and beyond, please leave a comment.

Happy Pho Friday! I’m gonna make that a thing. Feel free to help me!


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