Gluten Free Reviewer Grocery

Monday, January 9, 2012

Gluten Free Pho: Star Anise Zesty Ginger Happy Pho

PRODUCT NAME:                    Zesty Ginger Happy Pho

COMPANY NAME:                   Star Anise Foods

COST:                                     $4.39

SIZE:                                       4.5 oz

COST PER OZ:                        $0.98/oz



ORGANIC:                               Yes


VEGAN:                                   Yes


LOCATION OF FACILITY:        San Francisco, CA

SHELF LIFE:                           1 year +

*These statements are based on the information printed on the product packaging.  We cannot verify the accuracy of this information.  For verification of the statements above, please contact the manufacturer.   


Pho is absolutely one of my favorite foods. What is it, you ask? Well let me tell you!

Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is packed in with noodles, spices, and fresh herbs. Traditionally, it is most often a beef based soup but there are vegan/vegetarian, chicken, and seafood versions floating about as well. The soup is basic in it’s ingredients (you may be thinking “hey! That sounds just like the old chicken noodle that is so very American!”) but there are a few twists. First and foremost, the noodles are rice noodles, which is very good news for us gluten free folks. Secondly, the spices used to flavor the broth are star anise, cinnamon, and ginger. This unique blend offers up a distinctly exotic flavor. The soup is often garnished with fresh basil, bean sprouts, lime, and raw jalapeno and served in a gigantic steaming bowl. Eating Pho is like diving in to instant comfort.


Star Anise Foods has brought us a ginger accented to-go version of this lovely soup (which they call Happy Pho) and I could not be more pleased. As a woman who spends much of her time sequestered in an art studio, I often find myself needing quick, warm, and satisfying nourishment that doesn’t make me need to leave my space. As a gluten free, sugar sensitive, non processed food preferring vegan I often find myself toting tupperware full of whole grains and greens and noticing that my bag is heavier with food then art supplies. I was quite thrilled to find the light convenience of Star Anise’s product and to know that the amazing warmth of a soup awaited me come dinner.

The time finally came and I was incredibly pleased to find that these noodles were quick, simple to make and tasted fantastic! I just threw in some shredded carrots and a few hand fulls of spinach and cilantro, squeezed some lime in and my soup came out tasting fantastic. The process was simple- I added the spice packet to my pot, added the spice packet, brought it all to a boil, added a noodle square and BOOM.  I had a really healthy, warm, nutritious meal in about five minutes flat.

I'm really happy I found these soups on a number of levels. The rice noodles included are BROWN rice noodles, which I much prefer and have found to be a rarity. There is a little zing in the flavor of these noodles, I think because there happens to be green tea powder in the ingredients list. The spice packet scared me at first (have you SEEN how many disgusting things can be contained within a spice packet?!) but I was very pleasantly surprised to see the ingredient list was short and succinct- star anise , cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and green onion. NO sugar. NO salt. and NO gluten containing soy sauce. This stuff is heavenly.

Calorically, an entire box is two servings (It really is, too. There is no way I could eat the whole thing in one sitting) and contains 222 calories per serving. It is low fat, low sodium, and has four grams of protein. I have no complaints whatsoever about these stats!

Star Anise’s Happy Pho may very well save my studio life. Although to-go products may be a bit pricey I am quite pleased to know that now I can just keep a few boxes of Happy Pho in my desk for a quick healthy meal any time, especially on nights when I don’t want to leave my work post.


Labelling of this product was clear and concise. The nutrition facts, info about the company, and serving suggestions are all clearly marked on the box.


Packaging for this product is a recyclable cardboard box, which I deem to be quite sufficient.

Reader’s Reviews:

Please share with us your review of this company’s other products + where you purchased the product + how long you have been using this product. Please no review from the family + friends of the company producing the product…


Texture:        5
Taste:            5
Value:           3
OVERALL:     4.3
Reviewed  by Lacy D.

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