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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When You're Sick, Is Pozole Better Than Pho?

Posted by on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 4:31 PM

I have a Killer Cold From Outer Space. And it's been kicking my ass since last Saturday. Like everybody and their mother [in Seattle] recommends, I've been eating many, many bowls of pho—mostly chicken or tofu. And I frickin' love pho. I really, really do! Yesterday, when I had a fever, I even dreamt I went swimming in a very large bathtub full of it.

  • Kelly O
I'm from the Midwest where cold weather and nasty colds are commonplace. Today with my fever gone, I was craving something heartier though—more like a glass of fizzy Vernors Ginger Ale, and a hot cup of my Aunt Roach's chicken and dumplings, yee ole Bisquick style. Since there's nowhere here to get such a weird thing—I went to Rancho Bravo for their chicken soup—for green pozole.

For a miserable cold, chicken pozole is better than chicken pho. There, I said it. For one, it's almost impossible to get a bowl of chicken pho for under $10 anymore. For two, Rancho Bravo's green chicken pozole is more "comfort-food-y"—the broth is fattier and richer and the chicken is more random and chunky, with both dark and white meat. It comes out piping hot, and for only $4.95 for a large cup, you also get a side of cilantro, radish, and three warm corn tortillas.

As my Aunt would say, "$4.95?!? You can't beat that with a sharp stick."


Comments (33) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Rancho bravo is good when you've been drinking, but pretty mediocre when sober.
Posted by Don Johnson on January 28, 2014 at 4:36 PM · Report this
@1 - But isn't being doped up on cold medicine a little like being drunk?
Posted by Kelly O on January 28, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this
You must be eating at some pretty classy Pho places; I usually see the small bowls around $7-8. Not quite $5-cheap, but you get more soup.
Posted by Ruke on January 28, 2014 at 4:49 PM · Report this
RatGirl 4
I swear by matzoh ball soup. You can buy the kit that comes with the broth and the "ball" packets (just add oil and egg) for $3 or so and it makes a huge vat of soup. Works even if you're goyam!
Posted by RatGirl on January 28, 2014 at 4:51 PM · Report this
Put enough hot sauce (for pozole, I prefer El Yucateco green Habanero sauce, for pho I'll take regular sriracha) in the bowl and even Campbell's Chicken Soup will do the trick. It's all about the endorphins and opening up those sinuses.
Posted by COMTE on January 28, 2014 at 5:02 PM · Report this

Their Pozole is delicious but check this out.

A 5 pound pork shoulder is 10$ and hominy is cheap as shit. You can make like 16 quarts of pozole for probably 20$. This is what I do when having peeps over. Also I think its best serves with sliced cabbage.
Posted by michael bell on January 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM · Report this
And pozole derives all of its flavor from chiles and pork, both very cheap.
Posted by michael bell on January 28, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Soon dubu is also great for a cold. It is served boiling hot and full of electric red pepper to murder any beasties hiding out in your intestines!
Posted by Narbles on January 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM · Report this
treacle 9
I prefer a nail-encrusted baseball bat or pickaxe handle for beating *my* food. Jus' sayin'

As for colds (feed a cold, starve a fever ), I personally believe that the less fatty/oily, and less starch you eat, the better. Thin, tasty broth, hot spices, clean vegetables, lots of ginger/galangal, dash o' vinegar, lots of garlick. The less the body has to do to "break it down", and the less sugars(starches) you put in there, the better the result.

Of course, once you're on the road to recovery, then sure, eat something heartier.
Posted by treacle on January 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Dude, you have the flu. Colds pretty much don't give you a fever after puberty. Repeat after me: "I have the flu. I should take the day off work. And eat pozole."
Posted by facet on January 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Frank Blethen's vodka distiller 11
Soup's often good when you're not feeling well. Personally I like miso soup as a hangover cure.
Posted by Frank Blethen's vodka distiller on January 28, 2014 at 5:22 PM · Report this
Bigsfrottin 12
The Haggen in Bellingham is carrying Vernors - I don't really drink soda but I had to buy some. So worth it.
Posted by Bigsfrottin on January 28, 2014 at 5:28 PM · Report this
Grant Brissey, Emeritus 13
Nonsense, Kelly O! (Call me.)
Posted by Grant Brissey, Emeritus on January 28, 2014 at 5:33 PM · Report this
Pho is so fucking overrated.
Posted by ishf on January 28, 2014 at 5:35 PM · Report this
Tom Yum or Congee are much better when you're sick. Pho has too much fat in the broth, harder to digest. Put lots of lemongrass and hinger in whichever soup you choose.
Posted by iseult on January 28, 2014 at 5:48 PM · Report this
Ginger, sigh
Posted by iseult on January 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM · Report this
tainte 17
pozole all the way, although i prefer pork. rancho bravo's pozolo is great, but you never know what you're going to get. sometimes they put have a pig in the bowl (not that i'm complaining).
Posted by tainte on January 28, 2014 at 6:12 PM · Report this
tainte 18
"half" a pig.
Posted by tainte on January 28, 2014 at 6:12 PM · Report this
I grew up in New Mexico, where posole (with an 's') is widely recognized as the best hangover cure. It's traditionally served on New Year's day (as well as other times).
Also, forget Vernors and go get some Rachel's Ginger Beer--locally made and wonderful. I have become addicted to it.
Posted by crone on January 28, 2014 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Hey everybody! Fat is not difficult to digest. It is not digested at all and serves to lube your system for east passage. Lean meat is hard to digest, but with some fat it all happens a whole lot easier. Don't rehash the tired and improper beliefs about food and fat. You might as well be saying that marijuana is dangerous.
Posted by Tenekeci on January 28, 2014 at 6:16 PM · Report this
Fnarf 21
Posole is great (red, with lots and lots of tostadas on the side to dip) but there's something to be said for the simplicity of a cup of caldo, plain lamb broth. They do a great one at La Estacion in Burien, though you won't get a cup, but a giant bowl. Supplement with a massive quantity of beans and as many antojitos as you need to achieve satiety -- tacos, sopes, mulitas, whatever you need. Hell, I'd be happy with just the caldo, beans, and heap of tortillas (though I prefer the ones I make, of course).
Posted by Fnarf on January 28, 2014 at 7:35 PM · Report this
I have a cold right now, too, and what I'm craving is wedding soup. I made some a few weeks ago, but it's gone already. I have no desire to go to the store to buy what I need to make more at the moment (and the stores are closed anyway because we had an ice storm today). No place here sells it.

I want it to magically appear from the sky. Instead, I will likely be eating ramen because I have that.

Also, Vernor's ginger ale is fantastic. It is one of the the things I really miss about the midwest.
Posted by Sheryl on January 28, 2014 at 7:42 PM · Report this
Catherwood 23
Gordito's has an excellent red pozole, redolent of chiles. It is wonderful when you have a cold. (which you do: that guy above is a bonehead. I have a simple one-question test to see if you have the flu: does it make you think that being dead might be better than feeling like this? No? Then you don't have the flu: you have a cold. Eat.)
Posted by Catherwood on January 28, 2014 at 8:39 PM · Report this
@21 and 23. Green is the best.
Posted by crone on January 28, 2014 at 9:54 PM · Report this
gingersnap 25
Soon Do Boo from Kimchi Bistro. It will kill everything foreign in your being.
Posted by gingersnap on January 28, 2014 at 10:06 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 26
I like pho that actually has all the amazing spices it's supposed to have. Most pho around here is just a boring beef broth with meat (or tofu) and noodles. So far, only Monkey Bridge makes the cut.

I also strongly favor real chicken soup (made with proper chicken broth) for a cold.


It's possible to have an upper respiratory infection that's not the flu.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 28, 2014 at 11:03 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 27
The benefit of chicken soup is in the fat. There's a peculiar enzyme in it that boosts the immune system. It also helps to have a lot of garlic & sriracha as well.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on January 29, 2014 at 12:34 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 28
Mazoh ball soup, with a little diced chicken liver. Best to bake the livers separately then dice and add them only at the end to prevent them from getting overcooked and turning bitter and rubbery.
Posted by Dr. Z on January 29, 2014 at 1:23 AM · Report this
Sweet Kelly, have you tried Pho Le's, off Broadway on Pike where Maharaja used to be? Pretty cheap and really good. Their roasted chicken pho costs a dollar or so more, but it's worth it.…
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on January 29, 2014 at 10:11 AM · Report this
snacktruck 30
funny, most of the pho and posole in this city is merely good and rarely great. this certainly applies to Rancho Bravo - their version is greasy but merely good. with all the chat of matzoh ball soup, tom yum and even congee being cures - let's just say the hot soup of your choice is the best remedy.

I love the caldo de res at some place in burien (ay!) who's name I cannot think of right now. hungry.
Posted by snacktruck on January 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this
Babar has a $7.00 pho on their happy hour menu and it's the best pho in the land!
Posted by ruth chris on January 29, 2014 at 11:37 AM · Report this
@31 is correct! And Monsoon has it at lunch/brunch too for a few dollars more. I know cheap is nice, but everybody should read this:…
Posted by Bethany Jean Clement on January 29, 2014 at 4:26 PM · Report this
beatgrl 33
I prefer a Tom Yum to sear all the bad guys out.

In answer to your question, posole is probably better because I bet in most cases those bowls of pho contain a shit ton of MSG. Delicious, but I don't think I would go back for bowl after bowl in a short period.
Posted by beatgrl on February 1, 2014 at 9:34 AM · Report this

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