Phở versus the Hangover

Everyone dreads the infamous hangover.  Yet the answer isn’t to simply stop drinking, is it? That’s hardly a viable solution.

There are numerous recommendations floating out there that claim they can prevent the unwelcome morning after.  Unfortunately, whether or not you have a hangover and how obnoxious it is depends on a myriad of different, seemingly mundane variables (including what you ate that morning to how you’re feeling when you’re inhibitions have all but taken their shirts off and puked off a balcony).

hungover in tub

Drinking is fun; the next morning isn't. Image by Steve West, Stone.

In other words, without going into the precise science of it, a hangover is something quite complicated that is not so easily predicted.  Thus, the option for a decisive pre-emptive strike is unavailable to us, but there are still strategies to alleviate the strain we all suffer through the morning after:

A scrumptous grease-feast featuring oil-saturated sunny-sides, fat-envelloped bacon, a butter-drenched bagel, and of course, a delectable deep-fried hash.

A scrumptious grease-feast featuring oil-saturated sunny-sides, fat-enveloped bacon, a butter-drenched bagel, and of course, a delectable deep-fried hash. Image by Cal Crary, Photonica.

No.  Not that.

We all know the merits of a grease-feast like that, but coupled with the 2023956792938476 beers we had to drink the night before, that gut will hit its third trimester in no time.  So for a likely cheaper and more body-rewarding alternative, I happily endorse my most successful morning after food to date: Phở!

For those who are unfamiliar with Phở, it is a Vietnamese noodle-soup, characterised by full-flavoured broth, thin rice noodles, and thinly sliced meat, usually beef.  Long hours of careful simmering of beef bones, flank steak, oxtails with an assortment of fragrant seasonings like star anise and cloves produces the distinct and well-rounded broth.  It is typically garnished with bean sprouts, lime, cilantro and thai basil.  A good bowl of Phở will arrive at your table scalding and wonderfully aromatic.


Phở bò is the most common variety of phở. Thin slices of raw beef are added just before service and are cooked by the steaming broth.

A hearty serving of Phở tackles two morning-after problems rather effectively: dehydration and that awful alcohol taste left in your mouth.  The flavourful broth dissipates the vodka or beer (or whichever preferred poison you’ve chosen to overindulge in) that’s seemingly soaked into every space in your oral cavity.  All the while, you’re pumping your body full of much needed water (in the form of soup) since it’s likely that the one paltry glass you downed before bed was insufficient in replenishing the liquid it didn’t get while you were pounding back those Jose Cuervos.  Also, it just tastes so much better the next morning.

eating pho

These ladies were black-out drunk and went buck-wild last night. They tuck into a bowl of phở the following morning to combat their pounding headaches. Image by Frans Lemmens, the Image Bank.

If this doesn’t do it for you then you should just induce vomiting.  Seriously, though.


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Filed under Japan & Asia, Uncategorized

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