Pho Bo, a Vietnamese delicacy that originated in Northern Vietnam is a popular dish all around the world. There are different versions of this soup but the most popular are, Pho Bo (with beef) and Pho Ga (with chicken). Every household in Vietnam and every restaurant have their own secrets to make the best Pho but it is not limited to a single best for this dish and that’s the beauty of it.
However, some key ingredients and cooking techniques must be present for the soup to be able to be classified as Pho. The most important part is the broth. In my version, I cooked it for 4 hours and that’s how I like it. Some people prefer to cook it for only 2 hours, while some restaurants cook their Pho broth for 16 hours and more. One of the secrets to the fragrant and delicious Pho broth is chargrilling (or in my case broiling) the bones and vegetables before starting to make a broth. It will give the broth this beautiful brown colour, give it sweetness and smoky taste and aroma.
The proper Pho should also include rice noodles, soybean sprouts, green onions and different herbs (herbs may vary, but usually they include coriander leaves, mint leaves and That basil leaves). And of course, additional fish sauce (although some should already be added to the broth when cooking), lime slices and small circled chillies are always served on the side. That is a traditional way and in this case the best way. It also makes it more fun, cause in some way you can “build your own soup”.
The meat for this soup should be cut very-very thinly because it is cooked in a bowl by pouring hot broth over it. It is not always done this way, and sometimes I was served Pho Bo where all the beef was already cooked beforehand and just sliced (more like a Japanese ramen noodle). But to my opinion, one of the best things about that dish and something I like the most about it is the meat that is cooked right in front of you in the broth. This cooking method gives the meat slices divine flavour and texture and there are no words good enough to describe it.