Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga).The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with Vietnamese basil, mint leaves, lime, and bean sprouts that are added to the soup by the person who is dining. The dish is associated with the city of Hanoi, where the first pho restaurant opened in the 1920s.
Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. The specific place of origin appears to be southwest of Hanoi in Nam Dinh province, then a substantial textile market, where cooks sought to please both Vietnamese and French tastes (cattle were beasts of burden before the French arrived, not usually a source of beef).
Pho is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles (called banh pho) in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of boiled beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef pho 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. 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. 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.”
Vietnamese dishes are meals typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables, and various other accompaniments such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice.