Let me head this off at the pass – the word faux goes so well with pho. Faux is French for fake and putting faux near food is a nice way to denote inauthentic, wrong, not genuine food. Mon Dieu, there’s also the ‘shame on you’ French term faux pas. I’ve been simmering on the notion of faux pho (which has a whole host of wordplays that you probably already know) ever since I did a public radio interview with the Kojo Nnamdi show on the vibrant pho scene in Washington, D.C., and Virginia. One of the guests said that a local, critically acclaimed chef had prepared a faux pho.
Though I chuckled along with the other participants on the interview, in my mind I was thinking: What exactly is faux pho? There’s a whole industrial category of faux food that is used for displays; check out Fake-foods.com. In Asia, the Japanese excel at manufacturing fake plastic food. But I’m talking about the edible stuff that people are describing as faux pho. We're not talking window display here.