Re: Jack's Pho' House (Marshalltown, IA)
Of course if ethnic people settle anywhere, they can make authentic food. They have lots of pigs in Iowa so obtaining the key ingredient, pork bones (for pho stock) is a no brainer. I like tendon and tripe in mine and my favorite soup Bun Bo Hue has cubes of pig blood in it. That said, I'm going to make a guess that the owners are from Laos and they have Americanized their menu thinking the real thing might scare off the locals. I'd stick with the pho and I'll bet you enjoy it. The Pho Tai Bo Vien sounds easy to like. You should also be served a platter filled with bean sprouts, sliced peppers, probably jalapeno and some greenery, probably basil but possibly fresh mint or even cilantro. I'd tear it into bite sized pieces but feel free to remove the jalapeno seeds and the walls or just add a little at a time until it tastes right to you. If you've never had pho, eat the noodles with the chopsticks (lean over so your mouth isn't too far away) and use the spoon for the broth. Pho is easy to like without much effort. I was in Toronto 25 years ago and there were pho shops more numerous than McDonalds there and it was love at first slurp for me. Try a Banh Mi too and don't get the large size bowl. That would probably be way too large. btw, many Laotian refugees were farmers, so having SE Asian food in Iowa isn't a stretch.