Pho the Real Boss

Gave it a fun name, because this recipe actually came from my boss. Every time we are in LA for regular meetings or reporting, he would make Pho for us over one of the weekends.

Pho is regarded as the national dish of Vietnam with many different recipes, yet if you don’t know, California has its own style too – usually with all the herbs and vegetables placed at the side, instead of everything coming in one bowl. You can use part of them, all of them, or ask for extra.


-beef short ribs

-beef shank cut in cubes

-5 whole cloves of garlic

-2 white onions cut in quarters

-fresh bean sprouts

-vermicelli / rice noodles

Herbs for Sides:

-basil leaves



-mint leaves

-lime wedges

Spices for Soup:

-cinnamon sticks

-bay leaves

-star anise



Seasoning for Soup:

-5 tbsp fish sauce

-3 tbsp light soya sauce

-3 caps Chinese Wine

-2 tbsp brown sugar

-2 tbsp salt

In a large soup pot:

-bring half a pot of water to boil on medium to high heat, blanch the beef shank and short ribs for 15 mi

-discard the murky water, rinse the beef shank and short ribs thoroughly in cold water to wash off all the impurities

-cover the beef shank and short ribs with a full pot of cold water again, bring to boil on medium to high heat, skim the additional foams or impurities off the surface

-add in all the Spices and Seasoning for soup, with 5 cloves of garlic and 2 onions cut in quarters, bring to boil again, turn down to low heat and boil for 3 hours

-while boiling the soup, blanch the bean sprouts in boiling water for 15 – 30 seconds, or eat raw if preferred

-after that, blanching the rice noodles for  5 – 10 mins depends on your preferred softness, rinse in cold or iced water, drain well and set aside

-3 hours later, check if the beef shank is tender to your preference, use a skimmer to skim all the oil off the surface

-lay out the rice noodles in a bowl, ladle the pho soup on top, with the desired amount of Herbs for Sides added

This soup can also be served with rice, and last but not the least, don’t forget about the signature Californian Sriracha Sauce!

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