Tender Chicken Breast Nuggets in PPQ's Signature Spicy Coconut Curry Broth w/ Vermicelli
Out in the inner Sunset district of San Francisco there’s a nice little stretch on Irving St. with some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Between 19th and 20th you’ll find Pho Phu Quoc PPQ Beef Noodle House Restaurant or just PPQ, a family run soup shop that stands out in the sea of pho. A soft glow coming in from a giant skylight fills the room and hovers above the three rows of about 4-5 tables. It’s nice in here. It feels different from most of the seedy soup houses that I adore. This place has a buzz about it that reminds of going to brunch with my family after church on Sundays as a kid. Everyone seems to have just come from something they didn’t necessarily want to do, but that’s over now and they’re happy to be here. It’s time to eat. I’m sure there are many specialties on PPQ’s menu, but I’m a little ashamed to admit that I only come here for one thing. It’s that bastard of a dish that one falls in love with upon the first visit. That dish that will forever forbid further menu exploration out of the fear, and ultimately the knowledge, that nothing will ever top the usual. For me, this dish is the chicken curry noodle soup. PPQ has forever changed the way I think of pho. Unlike the traditional clear broth that I’m used to, this soup is spicy and creamy from the coconut milk, but still processes all of the umami packed perfection of a classic fatty pho. The pungent acidity of the raw onion and cilantro gives the velvety broth a nice bite, while little dabs of chili oil hypnotically swirl and pop around my bowl. It’s just one of those bowls of soup that looks as good as it tastes. When it arrives, steaming and glowing in all of its fiery glory, close your eyes and take that first sip. Do you see that? Can you feel it? That's life my friends. Live it, love it, slurp the fuck out of it!!!!