Before going out for your full English with extra bacon the next time you wake up with a killer hangover, look up your nearest Vietnamese joint and get there as quickly as possible.
Without a doubt, the dish I’ve missed most since coming to school is the Vietnamese specialty pho (pronounced “fuh”). Pho is basically heaven disguised as beef noodle soup. The broth is light but incredibly flavorful, the meat soaks up all the flavor from the broth while maintaining the perfect texture, and the noodles are chewy, tender, and plentiful.
Besides the fact that it’s one of the best soups in the game, pho is a fantastic hangover food. Pho manages to walk a very fine line of being both hearty enough to satisfy your hangover hunger but light enough not to destroy your already hungover stomach.
Pho hits all the important elements of good hangover food: it’s meaty, packed with carbs, and fully customizable. No matter what restaurant you go to, you’ll always get the same basic accompaniments with a bowl of pho: lime, jalapeños, bean sprouts, basil, sriracha, and hoisin sauce. Most restaurants also offer up to fifteen or twenty types of pho (seriously!). Types can range from Vietnamese meatballs to tripe and tendon to oxtail and brisket -- so there's really something for everyone. This variety makes pho a perfect option for a big group of you and all your hungover friends.
What makes pho such a perfect meal for hungover college kids is the price. The average price of a bowl roughly the size of your head is $7 - $8 plus extra if you choose to add more meat or noodles (which I highly recommend doing). So, quite affordable!
Disregarding pho’s blatant superiority as a food in general, there is scientific evidence to support that pho is the best hangover food. Because alcohol is a diuretic, you end up flushing out a lot of electrolytes (i.e. sodium and potassium) after a big night of drinking. Pho just as good as Gatorade at replacing these electrolytes because of how the broth is made. Although it is worth noting that you should make sure to drink a lot of water while enjoying your pho because the salt in the broth can worsen the dehydration you’re already experiencing from the hangover.
Besides the potential dehydration you might experience, there is one other drawback to pho. Vietnamese restaurants are not the most common type of restaurant. If you live anywhere near a major city you’ll have no problem finding a cheap, authentic Vietnamese restaurant. Chicago, where I’m from, has a whole Vietnamese neighborhood with countless pho spots (Pho 777 is by far the best, although Pho 888 and Tank Noodle are both solid alternatives). But if you aren’t lucky enough to live near a Vietnamese restaurant you might just have to settle for instant pho which is available in a lot of grocery stores. Obviously it’s not as good as the real thing but it’s better than nothing and it’ll have you feeling a lot better after a big night of drinking than any greasy alternatives.