Hangover Helper: Phở at Phở Ha, Philadelphia

Hangover Helper

Just what the doctor ordered.


[Photographs: Caroline Russock]

The hungover stomach is demanding to say the least—prickly, unsettled, and usually very, very hungry. Depending on the scale of last night's, let's call it "fun", the hangover can turn even the most mild mannered morning after diners into impatient whiners come brunch-time. For times like these, a steaming bowl of phở is the answer.

Restorative, comforting, lightning fast, and incredibly cheap, a visit to Phở Ha in South Philadelphia is ideal for feeding a hangover. The place is buzzing on weekend mornings with tables full of folks bent over steaming bowls of phở ($4.80), slurping and saucing away their hangovers. Phở Ha's menu caters to adventurous and timid eaters alike with phở options ranging from familiar steak and brisket to tripe, tendon, and crunchy flank.

Particularly appealing to the hungover set is Phở Ha's drinks menu, a long list of iced coffees and teas, refreshing juices, sodas, and shakes, perfect for rehydrating.

Once you've placed your order with the incredibly efficient staff (they're at your table seconds after you've sat), your drinks and phở are delivered in a matter of minutes along with a plate of cool herbs, bean sprouts, and jalapeños.

The anise-rich broth is warming and beefy with a layer of glistening fat floating on the surface, slices of steak still pink, and perfectly elastic noodles. Like any great phở joint, the tables are full of condiments for you to customize your bowl—chile sauces, vinegars, fish sauce and hoisin.

There's something about hunching over that steaming bowl of broth that leaves you feeling detoxed, possibly the combination of the heat from the soup and the spicy elements that are added to it, or maybe it shares the same magical recuperative properties as chicken soup.

Pho Ha

610 Washington Ave Philadelphia, PA 19147 (map) 215-599-0264; http://www.phillychinatown.com/phoha.htm">phillychinatown.com/phoha.htm