Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is made up of a clear broth, rice noodles, meat, and garnishes. The garnishes are served on the side to personalize it to taste. In Vietnam, it's a street food eaten throughout the day.
The broth is made in a standard way with beef bones (or chicken), along with onion, ginger, and spices, such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamon, clove, and fennel seed. The broth is key to the pho, as a poor quality broth with result in a bland soup.
The meat can be beef, chicken, seafood, or even vegetable. Thin slices are placed in the steaming hot broth and cook as it rests.
The garnish can vary greatly, but this gives the patron the chance to personalize it as spicy, hot, or zesty as one likes. Garnishes include: herbs, Hoisin Sauce, hot chili sauce, lime wedge, green onions, Thai Basil, chili peppers, coriander leaves, cilantro, fish sauce, and bean sprouts.
I watched a TV show on Pho and began craving it, so I contacted a friend who noticed that a local Asian restaurant was serving it on their menu. I couldn't wait to try it, so Natasha and I met for lunch.
She ordered Beef Pho and I ordered the Seafood Pho. I was so glad that we were able to meet for lunch and catch up that I forgot to take pictures until the end of the meal!
And while the lunch was so much fun, the Pho was a disappointment. The broth was bland and the garnishes included: hot chili sauce, a dried lime and some coriander. Natasha's Beef Pho was served Chicken style and my Seafood Pho included rubbery octopus.
So, I'm still on the search for Pho. I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I found some recipes so I can make it at home.
Food with Family has a Beef Pho Recipe
Gimme Some Oven has a Vietnamese Pho Soup Recipe
Steamy Kitchen has a very well written tutorial for making Pho