XI QUACH in pho?
Hi: Can someone shed some light on the xi quach (bone with meat) when served in pho? I've seen a few restaurants serving this but is it a fad or something more legit?
These are mainly the shank or femur bones with meat, tendons, cartilage and marrow still on, the exact stuff used in making the pho broth. Here's what one may look like served at the table:
Don't see a lot of these anymore since, my guess is, bones in the U.S. are butchered and cleaned a bit too well, and there's not much left to make xi quach, except for the marrow inside of course.
Xi quach is definitely legit. There are a few restaurants in the states starting to serve xi quach now, trying to differentiate themselves from the others.
Actually ribs are perfectly good for both pho broth and making/serving xi quach. The femur or leg bones may be good for the broth with more marrow, you can get just as good flavors from all the tissues hanging off of the rib bones. Plus you have xi quach to serve. High volume restaurants have a whole separate pot to simmer away the xi quach, and the stock coming off of that pot can go into the pho broth pots. Best of worlds!
This totally brings back memory of Saigon ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ . Last time I had xi quach was in the 70's before leaving Vietnam. I think if pho shops in North America offer xi quach then customers will go crazy over it.
The pho restaurants in orange county's little Saigon California do serve xi quach. Most of the people here are from Vietnam and left during the 70's so they brought those foods here with them. Pho 79, pho 86, pho lovers offer some delicious xi quach ribs, oxtail, and other varieties.
Umm I think most people on these forums already know about Orange County CA's Little Saigon and that Viet people brought Viet foods with them to the U.S.
Anyway thanks for the info about Pho 79 and Pho 86 serving xi quach. I'm in Virginia so still hope it'll be more prevalent in North America.
I think it's unlikely that xi quach will be offered across all pho restaurants everywhere. It's costly to implement and ingredient price (by vendors/suppliers) will continue to increase as demand continues. Also there are many many pho restaurants in North America that do not use any kind of bones in their broth, and so they are unlikely to add it. The few who do add xi quach are those who are looking for an edge over the competition, similar to the noise being made by a few about "gluten free", "no MSG", "low salt", "organic only".
And alot of pho restaurants that cater to non-Viet customers will use pho powder rather than make pho with bones lol. The customers cant really tell the difference. But the restaurants around little Saigon or ones with a substantial vietnamese population eating there will most likely use bones to cook the broth.
Interesting you mention the "no msg" semi-craze a few years ago. I had a conversation the other day about just that. That died down pretty quickly and those restaurants that advertised that didn't stay in business very long. I guess asians love msg in their pho? I personally don't use msg in my homemade pho. But if I opened a shop, I'd probably use it.
Yep the No MSG signs started disappearing already and will prob be all gone sooner than later. When one has to play up trendy stuff you know they don't have much else to offer in the first place.
Regarding the use of powder or soup base, Cuong prob has much more knowledge about it, but based on my experience with other restaurants plus from talking to vendors, it's not that widespread. The reason is good pho doesn't necessarily requires bones, and pho bo/pho ga must have the meat proteins anyway. So generally if you know what you're doing then using [flank/brisket/whatever beef cut you use] should give the broth plenty of flavors.
Personally I think the "bone broth" or "xi quach" is just another trendy thing. We Viet people have been making pho in North America since 1975, and it's only the last few years that everyone started to talk up bones and marrows, and now xi quach. Wonder what'll be next.
@caliphonia Here's my take:
- MSG is not any more dangerous than sugar, salt or other food ingredients when consumed in moderation. For those with real reaction to it, of course they should just stay off of it and choose foods without it. Pretty simple here.
- In a way, saying Asians love MSG is like saying Vietnamese and Thai love fish sauce, or Japanese love seaweeds, or Chinese love their five spices. MSG originated in Asia as a mean to kick up the umami, so Asians take advantage of it especially because it's a cheap way to enhance flavors and to feed the mass (most of whom are not well to do).
- All those TV chefs and food authors are willing and able to develop low salt, low sugar, low carb dishes but basically openly and publicly bash MSG for no good reason other than trying to sound cool and trendy. If they are good enough in their craft and see the benefits of MSG then they can certainly do low MSG or no MSG dishes. If they don't see any benefit then just don't use them. There's really no reason to single out MSG as something they DON"t use, because there are lots of other things they don't use and don't mention.
In my consulting work to entrepreneurs, some of the most important things I try to impart to those new to the food industry is to
- Be authentic about what you do,
- Be honest about what you offer, and
- Truly practice the "hospitality" and "service" parts of the food industry. Oftentimes people forget both of these when they open a restaurant. They don't realize that if they are true to what the industry is meant to be, then they can potentially stay in business for the long term.
I've received comments similar to your last statement, and I always reply with the question: So if you're not willing to consume something yourself, why serve it to others who pay you?
I don't mean to be contentious with this post. It's meant to be helpful, to provide a broader view of the issue, and to help someone see the true picture and make up his/her own mind.
You can definitely add xi quach to your hu tieu. You generally use pork bones to make your hu tieu broth anyway, so why not use leg bones with marrow, pork ribs, or even neck and or knuckles and get xi quach as well. Instead of throwing the bones out after making broth, you'd serve bones with attached meat as xi quach.
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