Noodling Around

Naughty Noah's Serves Up Vegan Pho to Cook at Home

Jimmy Tay Trinh is making the Houston favorite even easier to love.

By Alice Levitt December 4, 2017

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How do you make a satisfying version of a dish as staunchly meat-based as pho? The same way you get to Carnegie Hall: practice.

When Culinary Institute of America grad Jimmy Tay Trinh decided to make a version of his mother's pho to share with home cooks, there were several steps to perfecting the brand that eventually became Naughty Noah's Vietnamese Pho. First, there was finding just the right rice noodle that worked in a "dry, instant format." It took six iterations to get the spice mix just right. And the, well, meaty bits? Trinh uses a blend of avocado and coconut oils to give the broth an appropriately fatty texture. Each is packaged in its own bag. Just add water and heat, and in two or three minutes, you've got something very much like pho.

We're not going to lie to you: It's not the same as 24-hour-cooked bone broth. That would be an insult to your gustatory intelligence. One colleague who tried the Chicka What (other flavors are Original Beast and Victory Veg), described the soup as "pumpkin spice noodles." We agreed, though it's more subtle than that, and is mercifully dotted with veggies to make the meal healthier than a typical bowl of pho. For vegans or those seeking a filling meal in the realm of 200 calories (seriously), Naughty Noah's might be a godsend.

Early buzz for the year-old product supports that. The noodle bowls took home Veg Magazine’s award for Best Vegan Product of the Year at the soup line's debut at national natural foods trade show Natural Products Expo West.

The soups are currently available through Amazon in orders of six or 12. Texas Children's Hospital is selling the healthy meal in the cafeteria and they're launching at Central Market soon. Trinh hopes that the fact that Amazon bough Whole Foods will mean an easy transition from selling online to in stores nationwide—he's already met with a buyer. He's also in talks with a buyer at Starbucks. Because his company is both minority and woman-owned (his wife, mother of three-year-old Noah, is a co-owner), it will soon have two National Minority Supplier Development Council certifications, which means it starts ahead of the pack. Before long, coffee lovers hungry for pho might know Noah's name around the world.

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