There's almost nothing better during the chilly winter months than a steaming hot bowl of soup. Fortunately, the time is ripe to get out and warm up with VIA CDC's annual event: Phobruary, a celebration of the classic .
During the event, which runs Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, guests are encouraged to dine-in at participating South Side restaurants and share their positive experiences at those eateries on social media.
New for 2023, the slate of vendors for Phobruary not only includes restaurants in Silver City, but also an addition from the nearby Layton Park neighborhood. This year, participating restaurants will also be offering additional specials, along with special pricing on bowls of pho.
Note: Restaurants may be busy during this special event, so guests should remember to be kind, exercise patience and tip generously.
Participating restaurants & specials
Vientiane Noodle Shop
3422 W. National Ave., (414) 672-8440
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Regular beef and meatballs pho bowl ($7), dine-in only Tuesday through Friday
- Laotian-style fried beef jerky with sweet and sour sauce ($10.99)
- Tum mua salad featuring rice noodles, shredded green papaya, tomatoes, lime, bamboo shoots, Napa cabbage, carrots, broccoli and fish sauce ($12.99)
- Bubble tea in flavors like coconut, chocolate, coffee, green tea, Thai tea and vanilla ($4.99; +$.50 for extra boba; $1 for additional flavor)
3414 W. National Ave., (414) 647-0812
Open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays)
- Regular beef pho bowl ($7), dine-in only on Saturday and Sunday
- Pad Thai featuring rice noodles stir fried with egg, bean sprouts, green onions and choice of chicken, pork or beef ($12.99)
- Pad see ew featuring stir fried soft wide rice noodle scrambled with egg, Chinese broccoli and choice of chicken, pork or beef ($12.99)
- Thai BBQ house salad featuring lettuce, cucumber, peppers, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, nuts and choice of dressing ($10.99)
3300 W. Lincoln Ave., (414) 635-0500
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Regular beef pho bowl ($7), dine in only Friday through Sunday
- Chinese BBQ with arroz chino, egg rolls, tostones and fries ($16)
- Lo mein ($7)
- Empanadas: beef with potatoes or soy chorizo with papas ($4 each )
Vietnamese pho is a soup that's said to have originated in Northern Vietnam. But, since the Vietnam War, it's a dish that's been shared widely by Vietnamese refugees, making it a popular dish that's made and appreciated across the globe.
The secret of pho – which is pronounced "fuh" or "feu" – lies in its long cooking time, typically a three or four hour steep, which extracts flavor and heft from meaty marrow bones, usually beef. The broth is then supplemented with a custom blend of spices like cinnamon, cloves, coriander, star anise and cardamom.
In fact, one of the fun things about pho is that each bowl of steaming broth is distinctive thanks to both the cooking time and specific mix of spices used. So, if you're not fond of one restaurant's pho, it's worth your while to sample another spots broth to see if you like it better.
But, potentially the best part of eating pho is the ability for diners to customize their bowls with add-ins and garnishes like Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapeno slices, lime juice and condiments like fish sauce, hoisin and Sriracha.
Throughout the month of February, VIA will host special Phobruary giveaways during which partcipating diners can win a $25 gift card for Thai Bar-B-Que, Vientiane Noodle Shop or AsianRican Foods.
Winners will be contacted at the end of Phobruary and will be announced on VIA's social media platforms. To learn more about how to enter the giveaway, visit viacdc.org.
You can also follow VIA on Facebook and Instagram for updates.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.