A local man with an unkept bushy beard is currently contemplating spending the next twenty minutes rinsing warm beef broth through it.

Guy Needing (31) is in a tough position, given the fact that he’s having lunch with work friends.

As the local broomface peruses the menu at a prominent Vietnamese restuarant in Betoota’s light industrial French Indo-China district, he begins tossing up whether or not the people he is eating lunch with will be able to, 1. cope with seeing what he is about to do with his face, and 2. have the decency to tell him when he has a shaved flap of rare beef flopping off his chin.

Phở or pho, often prounounced a number of different ways by white people – based off their travels – is a Vietnamese soup consisting of broth, rice noodles called bánh phở, a few herbs, and meat, primarily made with either beef or chicken.

The meal is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty in prominent Vietnamese-Australian suburbs like Marrickville, West End and Footscray. Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, and was popularised throughout the rest of the world by refugees after the Vietnam War.

For many years this meal has stricken fear into bearded men who aren’t handy with chopsticks, or pretty much any Westerner wearing a white shirt.

“Hey everyone…” says Guy in a concerned tone, as he reads the menu.

Everyone waits in silence to hear what he’s about to say, until a goatee-donning hero from accounts comes to his rescue.

“You’re eyeing off the beef noodle soup aren’t you Guy?” says his coworker, Tony.

“Don’t worry. I’m thinking the same thing. If you keep and eye on me, I’ll keep an eye on you. ”

“We can even get our own table if it gets too much for these guys”


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