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What does heaven taste like? To husband and wife team, Dinh Tran and Khanh Dang, it’s a place where crafted meals are served on the sides of some of the busiest streets in the world. While scooters race by and pedestrians pass, buzzing in conversation, the quiet harmonious symphony of flavor found in a lovingly prepared bowl of nutritious, herbal and aromatic phở can be blissful and completely grounding. Those moments of serenity amidst the chaos in life offer up a taste of the divine.
In Sài Gòn, Phở is a time-honored tradition. The aroma of homemade broth wafts down the streets, beckoning to passersby. Each family has its own distinct recipe for the noodle dish, but a few things are consistent throughout the city: phở is made daily with great care and fresh ingredients. The rice flour noodles are lovingly prepared daily, too. And all along the street flags wave with the names of the various stalls and shops, each commemorating the matriarch of the family whose recipe is at the heart of their operation.
The celestial joy of homemade phở is real. Dinh and Khanh experienced it first-hand, back when Sài Gòn was still Sài Gòn. When they first came to Atlanta, they scoured the city for a hint of the heavenly flavors that they missed so dearly: the scent of freshly charred onion, fennel, ginger and anise; the silky glow of marrow-rich broth slowly simmering since three in the morning; the tender, full-bodied first bite of freshly prepared rice noodles. But everything they sampled fell short, so they went to work to bring their own sample of sublime to their new home.