‘Heaven on your tongue’: Pho Night


Winona State University students try the Vietnamese dish pho at the Alumni House. ABBY DERKSON
Winona State University students try the Vietnamese dish pho at the Alumni House.

Abby Derkson/Winonan

The Asian American Club hosted a fundraiser last Thursday.  For $6, students received pho, a dish popular for street vendors in Vietnam.

Pho is a soup of Vietnamese noodles, vegetables, and a beef or chicken broth. The event catered to students who have different taste and included a variation of pho that used vegetable stock for vegetarians.

Cody Tran, a member of the Asian American Club, was an order-taker for the night.

“[Pho] is like heaven on your tongue,” Tran said.

To top off the new, different flavors, students could add different spices to their bowls, including hoisin sauce or a beef-flavored paste depending on their preference of sweet or spicy.

The Asian American Club divided and conquered to provide restaurant-quality service. There was a cooking committee, a customer service committee and a cleanup committee for the dirty dishes.

Pang Khang, president of the Asian American Club, said the restaurant-style service allowed for a more efficient event. The previous year, people would come into the kitchen to get their food, which was more cafeteria style and what the Asian American Club attempted to steer away from.

While fewer people attended the event this year than in previous years, which Khang supposed was because of poor weather conditions, Pho Night was considered a success for the Asian American Club. This was not only because of the revenue it provided, but the opportunity it presented to bring many different cultures together for a night of good food.

“Food is a sharing of culture,” Khang said.

At the event, Khang hoped that people would “sit with strangers, strike up conversation,” so that people could learn more about each other.

Pho Night also provided an opportunity for students to step out of the same dinner routine. For Yuki Takeda, an international student from Japan, it was a welcome reprieve from American food.

“Everything is the same every day in the cafeteria,” she said. “American food is very oily.”

Junior Mong Doan, a junior from Vietnam who moved to America when she was thirteen, shared a similar opinion.

“Vietnamese food is fresh,” she said. “We go shopping every day and don’t use things like cheese or bread.”

Like some other international students, Doan dislikes fast food the most of all American food. She said she couldn’t even eat a cheeseburger from a fast food restaurant because, in her opinion, it tasted bad and was not healthy.

Pho offered a healthy alternative for some students and a taste of home for others.

Sophomore Nicole Nelson was among those who enjoyed a bowl of pho that evening.

“Everyone loves good food,” Nelson said. “If there’s a culture that makes good food, you just want to be inclined to learn about it.”


Contact Abby at [email protected]