Simple home recipes and food stories
beef | Noodles | Vietnamese

Phở bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle soup)

December 20, 2010


My earliest memories of lime (dayap) was on those nights that my mom would be in the kitchen, late and cold putting yellowish mixture in aluminum molds covered with a thin layer of caramelized sugar (arnibal).  I used to help her prepare that mixture…little as I was I would stir the ingredients in the big bowl before me with all my might. On some occasions I only squeezed the lime. 😀 Fast forward to a few years, I was tasked to combine milk, sugar and duck egg yolks and mix them. I also learned how to make caramel. Now I can make Leche Flan as luscious as my mom’s, smooth-looking with that silky taste lingering in your mouth. Well, thinking of it, that was actually the only memory I have of lime in connection to cooking.

Nowadays though I’ve other uses for lime.  Combined with chilli, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine are mostly known for the inclusion of limes. Today, I choose a Vietnamese soup, Phở bo.

There are different types of Phở bo characterized by the way beef is cooked. There are endless possibilities…beef brisket, beef tendon, tripe and even meat balls would do. I used tenderloin which I asked the butcher to slice real thinly.

pho bo

Here is a comprehensive recipe for the dish. As mentioned in previous posts, the hubby likes his spicy so I especially put in lots of fresh Thai chili peppers for him along with the usual garnishing for this Vietnamese soup…green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil (húng quế) (not be confused with sweet basil, Vietnamese: húng chó or húng dổi), lime wedges, bean sprouts (stir fried a little), and coriander (ngò rí) or cilantro (ngò gai).


  1. we used to make leche flan when i was small, too…though i wasn’t much of a helper;i prefer running around with our dogs and other playmates. LOL
    now that’s perfect for cold weather (and with lots of chili….yum!)

    ps. thanks for visiting, G. the wine was from one of the gift baskets given by hub’s company. 🙂

  2. The art is to add heat without making it taste fiery but bitter. I would say that the lime is the thing that add a hint of sweetness to the heat. What I imagine here is the freshness of it all, which is what we would remember. Excellent ruby chilis! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  3. do you have the pho broth in cans available to you in the supermarkets? that’s what i used when we make pho at home. my husband says beef broth is easily available, but the pho broth i believe makes it even more yummy.

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