Perception and Food Price

Is our perception of food price way off base?

We’d gladly pay $18-25 for a pasta, or $50 for black truffle pasta, $100 for white truffle pasta.

$500 for a tasting menu or easily $10 a beer at a gastropub.  $10 for a slice of fish on rice.  $25+ if it’s toro.

But $10 is expected to get you 10 tacos in Los Angeles, and if you saw an $8 bowl of pho well let me guess, it’s $3 more than the the dog meat broth down the street in Little Saigon.


But a properly crafted bowl of pho is made from a good broth, which in french cooking is paramount to a good sauce. A good pho has every bit as much technique as a demi-glace (browning of bones), skimming and clearing the stock, time, love, skimming the scum. good proportion, reduction, body.

Not to mention that pho has the freshness and crispness of vegetables, warming the plate (bowl), precision of cooking noodles, ingredient perfection, timing.  I’d argue to say that of all the three michelin starred restaurants i’ve gone to, none has done protein very well (lukewarm largely and sous-vide).


Imagine a perfectly cooked chicken pho with a strong, semi viscous from reduced chicken broth, the warmth of ginger and the aroma of of cinnamon and anise.  And not the normal, overcooked, breaking apart or overly chewy chicken pieces but tender, succulent morsels of chicken cooked with the expertise of Hainan Chicken.  What about a chicken pho made with only the oysters of the chicken?


Or a beef pho made from a whole roasted neck and marrow bones browned till golden and rich and even more than golden for that intoxicating beef smell that is indescribable.  I like to blacken my onions and make a dark broth.  blacken the ginger until its burnt beyond recognition.  i toast the anise and the cinnamon so it releases its oils and aromas to its fullest.  My pho made at home consists of 25 pounds of meat and 25 pounds of bones.  There is a process of waking up in the middle of the night to skim the broth of its scum, and I let it go for hours, days really.  Usually 24 hours minimum.  Then it’s topped with a meat symphony of wagyu ribeye, grassfed assortments, long cooked brisket until the fat is gelatinous but not all melted.  prime dry aged new york strip, tender slowly braised oxtail and …BEEF RIBS.


Here is what I’ve seen from “more expensive pho” ($10-12 vs $5-8)

-higher quality meat

-but way less meat than vietnamese places


Need better ingredients, enough of it… and greater perceived value






One Comment

  1. I have had a gnudi dish for much less than $100 with a decent amount of white truffle shavings as a first course though.

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