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Kitchen Adventure #22 to Vietnam - Pho Tom

Kitchen Adventure #22 to Vietnam - Pho Tom

4th Mar 2024

The adventure: Have I mentioned that I have an addiction to international cookbooks? Yeah, we're talking about a seeriously massive cookbook addiction. One of my favorites is also one that I haven't used very often. I leaf through the pages...repeatedly...but I rarely put action to my noodle drooling. But today is the day. I need an easy recipe and truly love anything with a noodle. So I'm making Pho Tom for dinner!

Pre-adventure Jitters: One word...mushrooms. I think I've mentioned before my distaste for mushrooms. Mushrooms are front and center in this dish, so I'm not quite sure if it's going to be yummy or gag producing. But I'm trying to push myself in this endeavor and that includes mushrooms. Soooo…armed with the recipe from "Noodles" by Sarah Ainley, and a predisposition for gagging, the adventure begins.

The Adventure: Are you ready for this? All I need are the mushrooms. Everything else is already in my fridge, freezer, or pantry. My entire shopping list is completed with the count to 8 and a grand total of 5 minutes. Woo hoo! 

Prep is a dream. I feel guilty about using this recipe for my blog, quite frankly, cause there are no issues, no dramas, traumas, or accidents. The recipe says to quarter the mushrooms. Yeah, soooo that's not going to happen. That's a big ol' bite of mushroom. So, rather than quartering them, I do something more like thirty-seconding them. Little tiny bites are just fine by me. 

I boil my noodle water in a large measuring cup and stuff in my noodles to soak. Start the mushroom broth cooking, and cut up my cucumber. The broth comes up to a boil, so I toss in my frozen shrimp and start the clock. Two minutes and dinner is ready. As my shrimp are cooking, I place my noodles in the bottom of my bowl, stack on the cucumber and then pour the broth and shrimp over the top. It's all sooooo easy it's almost shameful.

The moment of truth. I grab the first chopsticks full of noodle, cucumber, shrimp and a little tiny bit of mushroom. It's fantastic! You have the earthy broth from the mushrooms, the salt from the seafood, and a freshness from the cucumber that makes this one of my favorite meals yet. It was quick, incredibly easy, and absolutely delicious. It's a win. On to the next adventure!

The Recipe - Pho Tom


  • 3-1/2 cups vegetable stock (or chicken)
  • 8 button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 TBSP fish sauce
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 ounces mung bean vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and cut into thin sticks


  • Pour the stock into a pan, add the mushrooms, fish sauce, and sugar, and set aside
  • Soak the noodles for 5 minutes in water that has been boiled and cooled slightly, then drain and divide among 4 serving bowls. Meanwhile, bring the stock and mushroom.
  • Place the cucumber over the noodles, pour the hot stock, mushroom, and shrimp broth over, and serve.