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Apr 29, 2007 10:45 AM

What's your favorite Pho toppings?

When I originally started eating pho I did the basic beginner/newbie pho with sliced rare steak (Pho Tai).

I presently like pho with well-done flank & well-done brisket.

I can't seem to be adventurous enough to get the tripe or tendon yet.

What are people's favorite renditions of pho? Also is there such thing as flank or brisket that isn't 'well-done'?

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  1. I love it all -- rare meats, tripe, tendon -- everything except for the meatballs. I have never seen flank or brisket that isn't well done. I think it would be too tough for most people to chew. And you can't forget the herbs. Love cilantro, mint, holy basil, scallions. And the squirt of Srichara and lime (not lemon).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Miss Needle

      Miss Needle, I agree with you. I like everything except for the fishballs. I always feel bad for leaving the fishballs in the soup. Sometimes I take a bite or two, but I really don't like them that much. Everything else is good. Sometimes, I don't use the bean sprouts-- depends on the day.

      1. re: katkoupai

        Funny, I also don't always have the bean sprouts. Personally, I feel that it dilutes the overall flavor. I've also noticed that most places in New York do not serve it with the meatballs unless you ask for them. But in LA, I remember being served pho with the meatballs already in there.

        1. re: Miss Needle

          I live in LA, and some places don't add the fishballs. It seems to depend on location. As for the sprouts, I feel it makes the bowl of soup even larger-- sometimes I can't finish it as is. I crave pho often, though, and usually get the combo beef pho, with tripe, tendon, and two kinds of beef. :)

    2. I too like most every combination I've seen, but ultimately I return to Pho Tai about 95% of the time. This is one case where I wouldn't consider it "beginner/newbie" because its all just about personal preference. The whole concept of pho is that its a noodle dish to which you add the things you like best.

      For me, thats fresh herbs, some citrus, fish sauce, chili sauce and onions.

      1. I'd encourage you to try fat brisket, tendon, and tripe. For me, a lot of the enjoyment of pho is textural. These toppings add a nice chewy texture that you simply aren't going to get from any of the lean cuts. It's a complete dimension that you're missing. Try it! It's good!

        I am usually happy to throw in the fresh toppings, although I go easy on the sauces (srirachi, bean sauce) and sometimes don't use them at all, since the *other* part of the enjoyment of pho is a good, fragrant broth, and I don't like to alter it to much. ymmv.

        1. I haven't been able to really enjoy the fatty brisket and tendon, but for me now, it's not pho without the tripe--I love the crunch that it provides!

          I used to put in a lot of Sriracha, but now I like to appreciate the broth on its own. I mix Sriracha and hoisin in another dish and dip the meats in that after I fish them out of the soup.

          6 Replies
            1. re: aussieeater

     is pronounced like 'fuu' as in the curse word with out the ck. That is why you see restros with names as 'What the Pho" and as a friend once told me. They wanted to open a pool hall that serves pho and call it 'Pho Q'

              1. re: justagthing

                I think it's pronounced Fuh? with a rising tone at the end like asking a question.

                1. re: JMF

                  correct, i meant a short u sound not a long u. like i wrote, kinda like the f word, but without the ck

            2. re: Nettie

              I also use the Sriracha dipping technique, but do so with every bite, beef AND noodles!

              1. re: DezzerSF

                Me too- and I also like to wrap the dipped meat in a large basil leaf and eat like a packet.

            3. Doesn't matter what kind of pho, but the herbs make the dish for me.

              Got to have good ngo gai (cilantro) and hung que (basil) ... those are THE critical components.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                I thought ngo gai was 'saw-tooth herb' (aka: mexican cilantro/culantro/eryngium foetidus).