Ok, well not so secret. Whenever I feel like having gluten-free noodles that aren’t “adjusted” versions of wheat-based noodles, my go-to is Vietnamese food. Pho, to be precise. To be fair, there are some really great alternative pasta’s out there (my favorites are quinoa and corn-based pastas), but sometimes it’s nice to know that the noodles that come with the dish were supposed to come with the dish because they taste the best that way. That’s how I feel about Pho. For those of you not familiar with it, Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup noodle dish made with rice noodles that come in a delicious broth topped with a selection of meat and/or meatballs, bean sprouts, mint leaves, and jalapeno slices. It is the PERFECT comfort food. Many Vietnamese restaurants also have non-Pho rice-noodle (vermicelli) and rice dishes, which tend to be deliciously gluten and dairy-free as well.
Today, after a trip to 99 Ranch market (a Chinese grocery chain) where I bought both fresh and dried rice noodles (yes I had a craving), I stopped in to neighboring Pho So 1. Like a lot of small local Asian joints, this place isn’t about service or ambience. It’s about food and efficiency. It was crowded so I was quickly seated at a round table with strangers, given a glass of water, and my order was taken, probably with a total of 5 words from the waiter. I decided to go the non-Pho route and ordered a Bun dish, vermicelli topped with grilled beef and picked vegetables. It definitely hit the noodle spot for me and was a pretty light dish – no soup and very little oil. And the best part? Naturally gluten and dairy free! As I paid my bill at the desk at the front of the restaurant, the manager congratulated me on my fearlessness (there’s a lot going on in here!). I like this place 🙂