Easy Chicken Pho + Pacific Natural Foods Giveaway!

by Kathy Strahs on October 26, 2011 · 52 comments

Post image for Easy Chicken Pho + Pacific Natural Foods Giveaway!

If you’ve never had pho, I was right there with you until just a few weeks ago. I knew it was a Vietnamese soup (the national dish of Vietnam, it turns out), that it was pronounced “fuh” rather than “foe” and that a lot of people really love it. Like love it.

Happily, pho is no longer a mystery to me. I have now tried it both at a restaurant (Nam An in Kearny Mesa, which came highly recommended by Twitter friends) as well as at home, using an organic pho starter from Pacific Natural Foods. What I enjoyed most about both versions were the bold, complex flavors of the broth and the myriad of condiments – bean sprouts, lime, chiles, culantro to name a few – that you can add in with your chicken and rice noodles to customize each spoonful. It’s such an incredible comfort food.

I wasn’t sure if the prepared broth – albeit an organic one without any preservatives – would measure up to the kind I’d find in a well-regarded Vietnamese restaurant. But I was definitely game to put it to the test. Read on for my comparison of the Easy Chicken Pho I made with the Pacific starter versus the restaurant version plus the chance to win a Pho Starter Kit.

Pho condiments

When it comes to broth, I believe homemade is best…but it’s not always the most convenient. It can take eight to ten hours to make a really good, flavorful-yet-clear pho broth (although there are recipes that require less time). The broth from Nam An was very rich and robust – the warm flavors and aromas of anise, ginger and cinnamon were just heavenly. The pho starter from Pacific was a bit milder but still very flavorful and aromatic. Often prepared stocks are really salty but in this case the starter seemed to have considerably less salt than the restaurant version. A flavorful organic broth that can be turned into delicious pho within 20 minutes and cuts back on the sodium sounds like a pretty nice option to me.

Pho Soup Starter Kit

Pho Soup Starter Kit (Photo: Pacific Natural Foods)

** Win a Pho Starter Kit from Pacific Natural Foods! **

Pacific Natural Foods would like to send one Cooking On the Side reader a Pho Starter Kit, which includes two organic soup starters, a soup bowl and spoon and chopsticks.

Here are four ways to enter - you can do any or all of them (please leave separate comments for each entry): [THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

  • Leave a comment on this post sharing your all-time favorite soup.
  • “Like” Cooking on the Side on Facebook
  • Subscribe to free updates from Cooking On the Side via e-mail or RSS
  • Follow me @paninikathy on Twitter

The giveaway will close Monday, October 31, 2011 at noon PDT. I will use random.org to select one winner to receive the Pho Starter Kit and announce the winner in this post. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

**UPDATE 11/1/11 – Congrats to our winners, #33 Pat R and #41 Catie (Pacific Natural Foods offered up a second prize, so we have two winners!)!

Pacific Natural Foods provided me with a Pho Starter Kit  to use in evaluating their product and is sponsoring today’s giveaway. All opinions expressed are, as always, entirely my own. 



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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Kari Stewart October 27, 2011 at 5:48 AM

My all time favorite soup is my Mom’s recipe for “Corn Chowder.” However, it has way more than just corn in it! This yummy soup has corn, potatoes, bacon, onion (that has been sauted in the bacon fat…yum), etc. It’s deeelish! My kids like to put sour cream and shredded cheddar on top, but I prefer mine without. Thanks for the opportunity to enter to win the soup kit!

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Kari Stewart October 27, 2011 at 5:51 AM

I already like you on facebook! Thanks!

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Kari Stewart October 27, 2011 at 5:52 AM

I already subscribe to your email updates! Thanks again!

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Kari Stewart October 27, 2011 at 5:53 AM

I’m 1 of the 4 people left in America whom do not have a twitter acct. I’d follow you there if I did though! :-)

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Kalyn October 27, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Pho was something I so wanted to love, but when I tried it in a restaurant (with Ted and Lydia) I found the flavor of the star anise overpowering. Sounds like I might like this version better. You don’t need to enter me in the give-away, but I will look for this.
Kalyn´s last blog post ..Kalyn’s Kitchen Picks: Kroger CARBmaster Yogurt

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Carissa October 27, 2011 at 8:04 AM

Believe it or not, beef Pho is my favorite soup ever. I could eat it every day. When I order, I always get Tai Nam, flank and another cut I can’t remember, but it’s oh so good.

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Kathy Strahs October 27, 2011 at 8:07 AM

We got some beef pho as well at Nam An, it was outstanding!

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Carissa October 27, 2011 at 8:04 AM

I like you on Facebook!

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Carissa October 27, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Now following on Twitter (atexastwist)

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Carissa October 27, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Subscribed to email feed.

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pam October 27, 2011 at 8:09 AM

OMG! I love Pho. I must say that I never considered making at home, but the version I get for my take-out lunch is really good. Would love to get my hands on this giveaway. Cant wait to try it out!

My favorite soups are Hot and Sour (chinese) as well as Broccoli and Cheese!

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pam October 27, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Already like you on Facebook.
pam´s last blog post ..What would you like to see us review?

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Jey October 27, 2011 at 8:14 AM

My favorite soup is definitely French Onion. I have to order it if it’s on a menu!!
Jey´s last blog post ..Marinara Sauce.

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Kathy Strahs October 27, 2011 at 8:20 AM

I’m with you there on French Onion – if they’ve got it, I have to order it!

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Jey October 27, 2011 at 8:15 AM

I’m a Facebook fan!
Jey´s last blog post ..Marinara Sauce.

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Jey October 27, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Following on Twitter!
Jey´s last blog post ..Marinara Sauce.

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Pam October 27, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Now following you on twitter
Pam´s last blog post ..What would you like to see us review?

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pam October 27, 2011 at 8:20 AM

Already subscribed via email.
pam´s last blog post ..What would you like to see us review?

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erin October 27, 2011 at 8:31 AM

I don’t think I have a favorite soup. I love chicken noodle when I am sick but I am fan of variety when it comes to the others! I would LOVE to try my hand at PHO! We have a few great PHO restaurants only a few blocks from our house and love a big old bowl on a cold Chicago day!

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erin October 27, 2011 at 8:32 AM

I am a facebook fan!

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erin October 27, 2011 at 8:36 AM

I subscribe to your blog via Google Reader!

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Julie @BananasForBourbon October 27, 2011 at 8:47 AM

Just one kind? I am a soupaholic! Miso comes to mind immediately. But roasted garlic is amazing too.

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Julie @BananasForBourbon October 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I like you on facebook!

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Colleen October 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Kudos to Pacific Natural for their awesome web site, where it was easy to find the allergen info I needed. I think I’m going to have to track down one of these pho starters and give it a try!

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Julie @BananasForBourbon October 27, 2011 at 8:48 AM

I follow you on twitter!

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Julie @BananasForBourbon October 27, 2011 at 8:50 AM

I subscribe to your feed via RSS. :)

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Colleen October 27, 2011 at 8:51 AM

Meant to ask a question too, though. What is “culantro”? I’ve never seen or heard of it before. Can you use something else (cilantro?) instead?

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Kathy Strahs October 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

It’s new to me too. It’s in the same family as cilantro, the flavor is a bit similar.

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Pam B October 27, 2011 at 8:58 AM

I already like you on FB. My favorite soup is Lee Bailey’s Carrot Dill soup.
Carrots, white potato, Sweet Potato, onions, chicken(or veggie) broth, butter(optional) and lots of fresh Dill. Delish!!

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theresa October 27, 2011 at 9:18 AM

I LOVE Pho soup, but all time favorite is probably lentils with spicy caribou sausage. Yum!!

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Heidi Nicoll October 27, 2011 at 9:26 AM

Pho is my all time favorite soup! love it!

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Pat R October 27, 2011 at 11:52 AM

I love chicken egg drop soup….yummmmm

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Pat R October 27, 2011 at 11:53 AM

I already “like” you on FB

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Pat R October 27, 2011 at 11:54 AM

I follow you by email and FB

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Angela October 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM

My all-time favorite soup is Stew Leonard’s New England Clam Chowder :-)

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Kathy Strahs October 27, 2011 at 12:20 PM

An oldie but goodie. :-)

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Angela October 27, 2011 at 12:05 PM

I like you on Facebook!

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Angela October 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

I get your wonderful emails!

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Angela October 27, 2011 at 12:08 PM

I follow you on Twitter!

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Shewanna October 27, 2011 at 2:11 PM

Tied! Spicy lentil, sausage and kale soup OR lemon chicken and tortellini soup. yum!

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Catie October 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

My all-time favorite soup is my mom’s potato soup – perfect for a cold winter night!

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Catie October 27, 2011 at 2:19 PM

I like Cooking On the Side on Facebook.

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Catie October 27, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I subscribe via Google Reader.

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Catie October 27, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I follow you on Twitter!

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Amanda Thompson October 27, 2011 at 7:11 PM

My all-time favorite soup is Clam Chowder!

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Amanda Thompson October 27, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I subscribe to Cooking On the Side via email!

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Jeanette October 27, 2011 at 7:53 PM

I would love to try Pacific’s pho starter broth – I’ve never seen it. Pho is one of my favorites, but it is a lot of work!
Jeanette´s last blog post ..Fresh Beet and Apple Soup Recipe

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Cherl October 28, 2011 at 5:18 AM

I love chicken noodle soup

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Cherl October 28, 2011 at 5:19 AM

Follow you on twitter

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naomi October 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

We all need a shortcut sometimes. This sounds interesting, I’m going to have to give it a go and see if I can sneak it pass my mom. She is the pho queen in our large extended family.
naomi´s last blog post ..Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bark

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Kathy Strahs October 28, 2011 at 10:34 AM

That would be the ultimate test, Naomi!

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delia October 30, 2011 at 6:14 PM

The kit would be so fun to win! My fave soup is clam chowder.

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