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February 17, 2013

Happy Pho

by Anne Paddock

Happy Pho is a Vietnamese Brown Rice Noodle Soup that is easy to make and has the following attributes:

  • Low in Calories (approximately 220 calories per serving)
  • High in Protein (4 grams of protein per serving)
  • High in Fiber (3 grams of fiber per serving)
  • Low in Sodium (approximately 100 mg of sodium per serving with no MSG)
  • Fat Free
  • Low in Sugar (1 gram of sugar per serving)
  • Gluten-free (no wheat products)
  • Dairy-free
  • Flavorful and Delicious

Four years ago, two friends (Karen Cheng and Thao Nguyen) who share a passion for Asian noodles decided to start a business making nutritious Pho  (a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup packed with rice noodles, fresh herbs and spices) using a recipe handed down to Thao from her grandmother in Vietnam. Together, they formed Star Anise Foods (a tribute to anise – one of the key ingredients that gives Pho its distinctive complex flavor) and began to source natural ingredients of the best quality from Vietnamese farmers to make a nutritious noodle dish that can be enjoyed any time of the day and any way you like – plain, with vegetables, fish, chicken, or meat.1535636_628722233842231_485581961_n

Happy Pho is packaged in a box with 4.5 ounces of brown rice noodles (made of brown rice, water, organic green tea, and salt) and a spice packet that uses organic anise, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger, and spring onion as a base.  Each box contains two servings and there are three varieties:

Shiitake Mushroom: Brown rice noodles and a flavor packet (organic star anise, organic Saigon cinnamon, Shiitake mushroom, spring onion, black cardamom, and ginger).

Zesty Ginger: Brown rice noodles and a flavor packet (organic star anise, organic Saigon cinnamon, ginger, black cardamom, and spring onion).

Garlic Goodness: Brown rice noodles and a flavor packet (organic star anise, organic Saigon cinnamon, garlic, ginger, spring onion, and black cardamom).

slider_2To make Pho, place 4 cups (32 ounces) of water, vegetable, beef, fish or chicken broth in a saucepan, add the spice packet and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and heat for 1 minute (I cooked the noodles for 2 minutes because I prefer a softer noodle). Add 1 cup of chopped cilantro and be creative by adding fresh cooked mushrooms (I added 8 ounces of sliced and quartered browned mushrooms), sautéed spinach (I added 12 ounces of cooked baby spinach), or any variety of cooked vegetables (chopped scallions are a delicious addition), beef, chicken, or fish (many people prefer prawns or shrimps).Add a slice of lime or squeeze a few wedges of lime over the Pho and enjoy. Resist the urge to add salt; instead savor the flavor of the spices – especially the anise, cardamom, ginger and cinnamon. It’s that simple – an all natural flavorful soup that anyone can make.69609_479020832145706_855982699_n

Happy Pho boxes can be purchased at fine grocery stores nationwide (see the company website for a list of locations by state) or by purchasing on-line through Each 4.5 ounce 2-serving box sells for approximately $5 (with shipping free for Amazon Prime members).

Star Anise Foods
PO Box 591125
San Francisco, CA 94159

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