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My Forever Love – Vietnamese Beef Noodles in Broth (Phở Bò)

>> Saturday, January 06, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging is back after one week holiday. For the first WHB of 2007, I would like to write a little about my most loved dish in the whole wide world (and I’m really not boasting!!!) – PHO BO or Vietnamese Beef Noodles in Broth.

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Pho is perhaps the most well-known Vietnamese dish. Originated from Nam Dinh, a small city in Northern Vietnam, but it is in Hanoi that the art of pho has been perfected. I have eaten pho in different areas of Vietnam and overseas, and trust me; the only place where you can truly savour the best pho is in Hanoi. The few best pho restaurants have their family secret recipes that make them stand out. Not all pho restaurants in Hanoi are good, but the good ones there are world best.

The type of pho that are popular here in Australia is more of southern Vietnamese version. I love southern food but I cannot stand the way all the ingredients, especially herbs, is over-mixed and overused. Firstly, the broth should not be be made from the mixture of beef, chicken and pork – there should be one single type of meat used to concentrate the taste. Secondly, table salad of herbs (mint, bean sprouts etc.) is not supposed to be eaten with pho. The reasons are simple. Pho should be eaten hot to be flavorsome – dipping cold herbs will make your soup cold. Herbs normally accompany seafood style of noodle soup to tone down the smell, not here when the broth has already contained enough herbs and spices… I am very picky when it comes to pho, almost too picky sometimes ;)

I crave for Pho from time to time here in Australia. But cooking it isn’t easy. It is hard to get the flavour right. After several not-so-good results, I finally get what I want – A bowl of Pho that suits my taste. Of course it cannot be compared to the glorious version in Hanoi, but it is good enough to satisfy my craving. My flatmate, who has tasted Pho in Hanoi, gave a thumb up!

For those who are interested in the recipe, I have posted the recipe separately since it is quite long. For now, I just want to point out a few herbs that when combined make the beautiful noodle broth – shallots, ginger, garlic, green onions (or spring onions) and believe it or not, coriander roots! Herbs (and spices) are beautiful and elegant… And how to correctly use and combine herbs and spices together is truly a culinary art!

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This post is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by the Kalyn. Please check out her blog for the round-up.


Kalyn 3:20 PM  

This is an amazing post. Just fantastic. This is one Vietnamese dish I haven't tried. You can get it here, although of course I have no idea if it tastes the way it should!

Gattina 12:18 AM  

Anh! what a great write-up!
Some authentic dishes are simply perfect, timeless, the best! They shouldn't be ever be twisted or infused for whatever the reason. I've checked your recipe it totally fantastic! And beautiful photo too!
Anh, I made the prawn curry, it's easy and delicious! (but 3 tablepoons of curry paste are all I can take, hehee...). Next time I'll try it with fish :D

Rachel 4:27 AM  

Yum. This is one of my favorites but I haven't been brave enough to make it at home.

WhItE_PoPlAr 2:46 PM  

Kalyn, thank you. You really should try Pho out. It is healthy and low in fat!

Gattina, ;) glad you like the prawn curry. I can take 4 tablespoons of paste hehehe... :D

Rachel, making pho from scracth requires a bit of work. But the end result worths all the efforts!

Sarah 10:39 AM  

Beautiful. I love pho--it's so fragrant, herby, and delicious, but I've never made it. Maybe I'll make that one of my New Year's resolutions . . .

veron 3:14 AM  

You are making me crave a bowl of pho for lunch. My friend and I would call each other Sunday morning to have it for breakfast at our favorite vietnamese restaurant. I love it with the rare sliced beef and meatballs!

phofever 5:57 AM  

Hi Anh! Want to let you know that we launched a Pho Restaurant Directory for Australia:

Please drop by to review your favorite locations!

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