Exhibit A: The Noodles in question.
Phờ is the food of the gods and everybody else, too -- a magic meat and veggie-laden broth that you could look just call "chicken soup," if you wanted. But it's more fun to say "Phờ" to people who will almost certainly look at you in confusion as you speak their most oft-spoken food-centric monosyllabic world. I mean? The only time I don't hear Vietnamese saying "Phờ" is when they're eating Phờ.
Let's practice. Pretend I'm a foreigner and I say: "Phờ, please." You're Vietnamese: Look confused but concerned, while always kind of smiling. Say nothing but look deeply into my eyes. Maybe nod your desire to understand my strange, foreign words. Me: "Phờ." (But with a little more emphasis this time, as if being more abbreviated will help me sound like I have any idea what I'm saying.) You: look confused and shake head vaguely. Me: "Phờ. Phờ! You: Silent, squinting, shaking head in pity and contrition for not understanding. Me: (Gesturing with hands like using chopsticks to slurp noodles and) "Phờ?" You: (Eyes widen in acknowledgement and you cheerfully correct me): "Ah, Phờ!"
Translation: "So sad that poor American does not know how to say "noodle soup" in Vietnamese. Please bring him some Phờ as a gesture of sympathy."
Hope your xmas was merry and bright. Mine was muddy and dirt-road driven. More on that to come... Right after I have some Phờ.
Best Day of my Life So Far.
Happy December 26, from Da Nang, Vietnam, on the other side of the world.