Is this Hanoi’s best pho noodle soup? YES!

Is this Hanoi's best pho noodle soup?  YES!

49 Bat Dan Street
Old quarter Hanoi

Pho noodle soup with beef
Pho bo


6 cups (1.5 l) rich beef stock
1 1/4 inch (3 cm) knob fresh ginger, peeled
1/4 cup peeled brown or pink shallots  (about 3/4 oz/20 g)
1 star anise
1 brown or black cardamom pod, lightly crushed
1 lb (500 g) packet rice noodles (banh pho) or rice sticks
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped Chinese (flat or garlic) chives
2 scallions (green onions), coarsely chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
6 oz (180 g) very thinly sliced beef rump (Scotch fillet), or eye of round (eye of silverside)


Soup Herbs (thom mui), including eryngo leaves (sawtooth coriander/); peppermint; bean sprouts; 2 fresh medium or long red chilies, cut into small rings; 1-2 lemons, cut into wedges

fish sauce or Nuoc cham sauce.


Use a commercial stock, adding 2 brown or black cardamom or 2-3 whole star anise.  Simmer over low heat, tightly covered, for 30 minutes-1 hour.


Meanwhile, make a small foil packet and envelope the ginger and shallot. Roast for about 20 minutes in a preheated 400 F (200 C) oven; remove and  chop, then add to the stock.  Add star anise and cardamom.  Bring the stock to the boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least  30 minutes, then remove the star anise and cardamom immediately prior to serving.


If using fresh noodles, plunge the noodles quickly in boiling water, drain and arrange in individual heated bowls. Dried noodles should be soaked in cold water for up to 30 minutes, or until soft.


Immediately before serving, plunged the noodles into boiling water momentarily, and place in warm bowls.  Add the chives, scallion and onion to each bowl.  Toss the meat into the boiling stock momentarily, then ladle the  meat and boiling stock into each bowl. Accompany with Soup herbs , plus chili and  fish sauce or Nuoc cham sauce, to taste.  Squeeze wedges of lemon into individual bowls.
Serves 4-6


© Robert Carmack.  Adapted from Vietnamese Cooking, Lansdowne Publishers.

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