Have you noticed? It’s soup season. I don’t know about you, but near freezing temperatures, loads of rain (that I wish was snow!), and colds flying everywhere make me crave entire pots of freshly brewed herbal tea and big bowls of piping hot broth.
Though we do make our own broth from time to time, I’m no stranger to the store-bought packages, and Pacific Foods is a brand that I know well. In the past, my favorite broth from their soup line-up was by far the Mushroom broth, but with some new contenders in the line-up, it was time to reevaluate.
Pacific recently launched a line of Pho Soup Bases in Beef, Chicken, and Vegetarian. I LOVE pho, as does my husband, so we jumped at the opportunity to give these a taste test. But I wondered, “Could a packaged broth measure up to the traditional methods of making pho?” It is such a painstakingly long process of simmering. Here is what we thought after trialing each variety:
Beef Pho Soup Starter– We started with the most traditional pho flavor, beef. Truth be told, this definitely isn’t what I would call authentic pho. It lacked richness and was more highly spiced than any pho that I’ve ever tasted. However, it was delicious! Whatever they label it, this is a pretty darn good beef broth that is beautifully fragranced and offers something extra in the flavor department. I don’t typically buy the Pacific brand of beef broth, but would definitely buy their Beef Pho Broth. It is very unique when compared to anything else on the market.
Chicken Pho Soup Starter – Though chicken is an authentic pho variety, I rarely see it on menus at restaurants, so I had little to compare to. Upon opening the package, it smelled strongly like anise, but fortunately didn’t taste that way (we aren’t huge licorice fans here). For a light but hearty lunch, I added rice noodles, leftover roasted chicken, and some green onions (see image below). The Chicken Pho was sweeter than regular chicken broth but rich with flavor. As an added bonus, their chicken pho had a very pleasing aftertaste filled with warm spices. Again, this was a delightful soup in its own right, and I much prefer it to Pacific’s regular chicken broth line-up.
Vegetarian (Vegan) Pho Soup Starter – Onto the non-authentic but vegetarian pho option. It was oh-so fragrant and surprisingly spicy! We were both a little shocked (but pleased) by its bold flavor, yet it still managed to give that warm and comforting feeling. I like both the Pacific simple Mushroom broth and the Pho one, which one I purchased would just depend on the purpose. Their mushroom broth is mellow with a well-rounded flavor that acts as a good backdrop, while this Vegetarian Pho takes center stage with flavor.
To sum it up:
- Though not what I would call authentic, we adored all three soup bases!
- These are amazingly flavorful and fragrant – not your ordinary broth by any means.
- The ingredient lists are stellar – organic, short, and easy to read. As close to homemade as you can get!
Pacific Foods have expanded their line of Soup Starters and now also offer a Tortilla Soup Starter and Tom Yum Soup Starter!
The Facts on Pacific Foods Soup Starters
Certifications: Pacific Foods Soup Starters are Certified Organic and Non-GMO Verified. Some varieties are Certified Kosher Parve.
Dietary Notes: By ingredients, Pacific Foods Soup Starters are dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free. Some varieties are vegetarian and vegan/plant-based. Nonetheless, always read the ingredient statement and check with the company on their manufacturing processes for all varieties if potential allergen cross-contamination is an issue for you. Processes and labeling are subject to change at any time for any company / product.
For More Product Information: Visit Pacific Food’s website at www.pacificfoods.com.
This is a third party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.