Book Review – The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen.

Pho cookbook

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Ten Speed Press for provided me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

You know, I thought I knew a bit about Pho… I did not. I now doubt if I even know how to say or eat it correctly. 😉

Pho to me has always been a really yummy HOT broth with noodles, bits of meat and maybe some greens. And a meal you have when you missed breakfast and just can’t wait for lunch.

So I feel the ‘Pho Cook book’ has filled in a lot of the gaps missing in my education when it comes to this amazing nourishing food source!

I grew up in Darwin, Australia where – back then – Asian cuisine was one of the most common foods available when out and about. So I have been exposed to them from a young age. And I admit now that Pho in a Styrofoam cup with a fork as you walk around the markets is not the traditional way to eat it, but that’s what we did.

This book made me hungry too! How terrible. 😉 We got past the initial recipes, which I felt were at a level I could do (being a bone broth lover today) and the rest of the book became almost like a menu for me than a cook book. I wanted to order almost one of everything.

And, being a book produced by Ten Speed Press, the gloriously colourful pictures were to blame! They always seem to capture the spirit of a book in their tantalising images.

As for the formatting? Well, I will say here and now the recipes clearly show it was written for a North American audience (no surprise as they were!) as all the measurements are in imperial.

Also, the formatting used for the recipes was very typical of what I am used to in the older style Asian cook books. Very similar to authors like Charmaine Solomon where the ingredients and methods and blocked out page for page. Tightly squashed together, not a lot of white space.

Now, I am okay with this sort of formatting, as I am used to it. But I feel it sets the level of who the cook book is aimed for – middle to experts cooks. As your modern newbie cook – who is into a lot of white space, basic step by step instructions and hand holding – isn’t going to like the ‘Pho Cook book’. Sorry, but formatting will put people off. They pick up the book, the flick through it, see it looks so compact and will assume it is therefore too complicated and so put it down and buy a different book.

But what would I know? Just my opinion as part of my open and honest feedback. I loved the book, loved the recipes… would be challenged by some of them, but that just makes all the more fun and enjoyment of trying.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. But only to those I feel could handle it. I now admin in a Facebook group where we are helping to teach the unexperienced how to cook real food on a budget. This isn’t a book I would suggest to the newbies. Though it is something I would suggest to the members who had had more experience and were willing to try something outside their comfort zone.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I think I would… but I would prefer it in paper format – as I do most of my cook books – and it would have to wait until I have more shelf space. 😉

In summary: Not for the beginner, but a fantastic cookery book showing you how to make and enjoy Pho… and then some.

Until next time,





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