We already gave you some tips and tricks to get rid of your hangover. But every country has its own traditional dishes to make the process go faster. We like to give you a taste of the international anti-hangover cuisine. In this post we visit South-East Asia, home of some of the best refreshing hangover dishes in the world, as we take a look at a typical dish from the Vietnamese cuisine called pho (pronounced fuh). This beef noodle soup is gaining popularity around the world as an effective hangover killer, plus it’s probably a lot healthier than greasy hangover food from the Western World, like an English breakfast or Canadian poutine.
Vietnam has a pretty flourishing drinking culture, but almost exclusively among men, as only 2% of the women in this country drink alcohol at all. That’s why it’s even more impressive that the Vietnamese people are the 3rd biggest beer consumers in Asia, behind China and Japan, downing around 3.1 billion litres a year. It’s safe to say that Vietnam has a real beer culture. That’s also because brews (a normal beer in a bar usually goes for 0,25 Euro or 0,30 Dollar) are quite cheap, where distilled liquor is heavily taxed. Traditionally the places where the Vietnamese go to drink are simple roadside restaurants with plastic chairs, where they serve fresh beer called bia hoi. These drinks don’t contain any preservatives and are dropped off straight from the brewery every day. Because of the heat the beers are usually served with ice.
When the Vietnamese drink, they drink to get drunk. The philosophy behind it is that moderate drinking us just a terrible waste of alcohol and money. That’s why most restaurants where people gather to drink have special vomit sinks in their toilets, that are used quite a lot. The reason why is easily explained, as it’s considered very inpolite to let someone in your company drink alone and there’s the fact that Vietnamese can get a little competative when they drink.
Even though the Vietnamese language has no official word for hangover, the habitants of this country sure try hard to get one. And that’s where pho comes in, a delicious traditional slightly spicy noodle soup. It’s easier to stomach than some of the heavy meals we know in the West, but still quite rich on ingredients. We gave you a recipe that is quick and easy to make, but you can also choose to make your own broth from scratch. In this case we recommend to use knockle bones, leg or shin bone or oxtail.
225 grams of rice noodles
350 grams beef fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 cups of beef broth
3 cups of water
1 large onion, halved
5 cm piece of ginger, sliced in 2
5 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
4 scallions, chopped
2 hot peppers (chile or jalapeño will do)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2-4 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 cup of fresh bean-sprouts
Place a large pot over high heat. Now tender the meat by poking it with a fork and season it with salt and black pepper. After that you put the meat in the pot and sear it around 2 to 3 minutes per side, so the inside is still rare. Then take the the beef fillet out and leave it on a plate.
Put the halfs of the onion and ginger in the pot and let them cook for 4 minutes. Then add the broth, water, star anise and cinnamon. Reduce the heat and let this mix simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime you can cut up the scallions, hot peppers and cilantro. Also cut the meat into thin slices and drain the noodles in cold water (usually 15 minutes should be enough).
When the 20 minute simmer is done, you can add the fish sauce to the broth and boil the mix for 5 minutes. After that discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. The half onions should also be removed, but then sliced and set aside.
Divide the noodles over 4 bowls and top them with the broth and beef. Everyone can garnish his own soup with scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, spicy pepper and slices of onion. Enjoy.