More than 100 pho lovers have already signed up to assist with our Pho File, an effort to catalog every pho joint in King County, and the results of their work are beginning to roll in.
This week, we heard back from a census taker assigned to Bamboo House, a four-year old restaurant in Bothell. Since our goal is to produce an objective survey, we haven't asked participants to rate the pho they sample. Instead, each participant is charged with collecting objective information. According to the data sheet for Bamboo House, the restaurant seats 60 people; serves a delicate, brown broth that tastes primarily of cloves and keeps Vietnamese pop music on the stereo. Participants are also asked to gather information about the restaurant's owner, which is how we learned about Bamboo House's Haison Duong.
Duong moved to the U.S. in 1991. He ran a doughnut shop, but a relative's pho success in Everett persuaded him to open a pho restaurant. Duong makes his broth from scratch -- "no cans," he insists - and allows it to simmer for at least 12 hours.
Duong described the perfect bowl of pho to our Pho Filer.
"Big bowl, lots of meat and noodles," he said. "The broth has to have the taste of beef and herbs."
There are still plenty of local pho joints available for claiming. If you'd like to participate in the project, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.