Pho is one of the pride of the Ha Noi people. Attractive noodle eaters because water (broth) can cool sweet flavor and nutritious, soft noodles, long associated with thin sliced beef or chicken. Noodles served with spices such as: soy sauce, pepper, lemon juice, fish sauce, chili …
The variations in meat, broth and additional garnishes, such as lime, bean sprouts, ngò gai (culantro), húng quế (Thai/Asian basil), and tương (bean sauce/hoisin sauce) appear to be innovations introduced in the south. Pho did not become popular in South Vietnam until 1954.
Pho is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, or meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using only chicken bones and meat, as well as some internal organs of the chicken, such as the heart, the undeveloped eggs and the gizzard.
The broth for beef pho is generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Chicken bones also work and produce a similar broth. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use stick or powder), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. The broth takes several hours to make. For chicken pho, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The remaining spices remain the same, but the charred ginger can be omitted, since its function in beef pho is to get rid of the “cow’s smell”. The spices, often wrapped in cheesecloth or soaking bag to prevent them from floating all over the pot, usually contain: clove, star anise, coriander seed, fennel, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger and onion.
Careful cooks often roast ginger and onion over an open fire for about a minute before adding them to the stock, to bring out their full flavor. They also skim off all the impurities that float to the top while cooking; this is the key to a clear broth. Salt, or preferably nuoc mam is added toward the end.
Might you also interest La Vong grilled fish – The specialties of Ha Noi.