For an upcoming 318 Restaurant Week event at Bamboo Asian Café, Chef Frederick Ngo wanted to focus on pho. Ngo is Vietnamese, but his 36 years of experience as a chef have mostly accrued while cooking French and Italian cuisine in four- and five-star hotels. As a young man in Vietnam, he worked alongside his mother in the family’s small restaurant, which served French, Vietnamese and Chinese food. For Ngo, pho is the home cooking of his childhood.
“My mom would go to the market early each morning, at five or six in the morning, to buy ingredients for the pho,” Ngo says. “We didn’t have refrigerators, so everything was always purchased fresh.”
No other Vietnamese dish has been as enthusiastically embraced around the world as pho, a soup that is most often made with beef or chicken stock as well as various cuts of meat, lots of fresh herbs and rice noodles. The most important element of pho is the broth, which is made by slowly simmering marrow-rich beef bones for hours on end. A great pho broth has a deep, rich, bracing flavor that could only come from hours of slow simmering. The pho broth at Bamboo Asian Café, which cooks for six hours or more, is outstanding.
“In Vietnam, pho is made many different ways,” Ngo says. “Everybody has their own recipe. Whoever uses the most bones in making their stock, that person will have better pho.”
At a March 15 event called “What the Pho?”, Chef Ngo will serve and discuss Bamboo Asian Café’s pho as well their fantastic house-made egg rolls and signature coconut flan dessert. The meal will also include two glasses of wine. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased here. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
Julie Nguyen, hostess at Bamboo Asian Café, enjoys helping customers discover their own formula for a perfect bowl of pho. Nguyen and the rest of the service team at Bamboo are another factor that set the restaurant apart; I have experienced consistently outstanding service on several recent visits.
“You can make it spicy or you can make it sweet, everyone can bring their own tastes to it,” Nguyen says. “Especially during the Winter, pho is very popular—it warms the soul.”
Bamboo Asian Café is located at Margaritaville Resort Casino in Bossier City.