Pho : A Vietnamese Delicacy: Background information when reading The Beauty of Humanity Movement

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Beauty of Humanity Movement

A Novel

by Camilla Gibb

The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2012, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers

Buy This Book

About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Pho : A Vietnamese Delicacy

Print Review

In Camilla Gibb's novel The Beauty of Humanity Movement, Old Man Hung is the resourceful owner of a rickety pho stand, and, in many ways, he holds the community together throughout Vietnam's political turmoil, one bowl at a time.

Pho Image Pho (pronounced "fuh") is a Vietnamese rice noodle soup that is eaten at any time of day (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). It is usually made with some kind of meat - rare steak slices (pho tái), tripe (pho sách), chicken (pho gà), or often beef meatballs (pho bò viên) - and is served with basil, bean sprouts, fresh lime and hot peppers on the side. As noted in NPR's news story, Pho Sells, the clear, brown, flavorful broth is what makes pho particularly special; washed beef bones are traditionally cooked for eight to ten hours with charred onions, cilantro, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.

Pho Stand Image According to an article in Taipei Times, it is "widely believed by linguists and word sleuths that the word pho is not Vietnamese, but in fact comes from the French term [for hot pot] pot au feu (literally 'pot on the fire', pronounced 'pot oh fuh')." In 1885 Vietnam was colonized by France and became an official part of French Indochina. Consequently, many cultural changes were imposed upon the Vietnamese people, resulting in "loan words" such as the Vietnamese word for cheese, pho mat (in French fromage), and cake, ga to (in French gateau).

Although the history of this tasty soup is uncertain, it is generally believed that pho originated in North Vietnam near Hanoi in the mid-1800s (when beef consumption increased due to French influence) and then spread throughout the country as people migrated south. Many years later as Vietnamese emigrants fled a war-torn country in the 1970s and thereafter, pho was introduced to many different areas and cultures around the world including the North American West Coast, Australia and France, and is now enjoyed world-wide.

(Pho image by Kham Tran, street stall image by Shellack)

This article was originally published in April 2011, and has been updated for the February 2012 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

This article is available to non-members for a limited time. You can also read these articles for free. For full access become a member today.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Noise of Time
    by Julian Barnes
    Confession: I do two terrible – some say unforgivable – things while reading a book. First...
  • Book Jacket
    Smoke
    by Dan Vyleta
    In Dan Vyleta's universe, set in an alternate Victorian England, people engaging in sinful thought ...
  • Book Jacket: Golden Hill
    Golden Hill
    by Francis Spufford
    Spufford brings American history to raucous life through the story of Mr. Richard Smith, a ...

Win this book!
Win The Library of Light and Shadow

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose

"Possibly her best yet. A sensuous, sumptuous, and spellbinding novel." - Kirkus Reviews

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Almost Sisters
    by Joshilyn Jackson

    A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T H Are B T O

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

A novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake that changed a family forever.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.