“A type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added.”
That’s the definition you get from Google when you type “pho” into the search box.
But the travel experts from Lonely Planet, who probably know about the world better than most of us, now see the famous Vietnamese noodle soup in a different way: an excellent hangover cure.
In a new article, Lonely Planet editors share their personal tips on how to survive a hangover on the road and pho appears first in the list, followed by other expected and unexpected cures such as Bali fresh juice, Berlin pork and a post-drinking walk in Ireland winds.
Tasmin Waby, the destination editor for Australia and the Pacific, says the clear broth of pho is perfect for a night of beer and cocktails in Southeast Asia.
“The broth rehydrates, the sodium gives you a little pick-me-up, and the freshly cooked beef adds protein in wafer-thin slices (which is all I can usually stomach in this state),” she writes.
Even an image of a steamy bowl of pho can cure that headache for you.
Pho is served at a shop in Hanoi. Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam
There’s a tiny issue though: Waby appears to be talking about a bowl of pho in Bangkok. While we love the idea that pho is now so popular, if not universal, that it can be found everywhere, it’s a little bit disappointing to see a recommendation for pho that doesn’t guide you to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.
That shortcoming is even harder to swallow considering that the hangover cure listing is tied to Lonely Planet’s recent beer guide, in which Vietnam is described as one of the “hotspots” of Asia.
But one thing we totally agree with the Lonely Planet editor: the magical healing power of the broth.
In his book “Hanoi Delicacies,” writer and foodie Vu Bang declares: “A good broth excels without a shred of meat.” We can’t say it better.
So next time, after downing the famous bia hoi in Hanoi’s Old Quarter or the cocktails of Saigon’s rooftop bars, remember to give yourself a treat.
Come to think of it, we've heard that a cup of Hanoi's egg coffee the next morning can also do wonders for a hangover.