"Made with love, always," Tony Kim of Pho Hiho says when asked to describe the method he uses to create his restaurant's signature broth.
Jim Stennett, who documented Kim's Georgetown restaurant for The Pho File, suspects there's more than love flavoring the soup. He tasted hints of star anise in the pho, which he characterizes as "bold and sweet."
"It's a unique taste, unlike anywhere else," Stennett says.
Kim, who immigrated from Saigon in 1996, refused to reveal the ingredients for the recipe he's followed since opening his restaurant 11 years ago. But he attributes his pho's uniqueness to "many different kinds of herbs and meats." Stennett confirms Kim doesn't stint on protein post-simmer, either. According to Stennett's survey form, one-fifth of a pho bowl at Hiho is occupied by meat.
"Lots of meat," he says. "Best quality meat I've ever encountered."
With so many meats in the pho pot, there isn't much need for garnishes and condiments at Hiho: Chili paste, hoisin sauce and Sriracha are the only accoutrements on the table. Love comes standard.
Dozens of Pho Filers have already submitted their pho joint reports, but we're still looking for enthusiastic eaters to help us complete our countywide pho census. If you'd like to make like Stennett and uncover a "unique taste, unlike anywhere else," please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can hook you up with a restaurant and the forms you'll need to chronicle it.