A Pho Primer

Resist the urge to dive into your bowl of pho immediately after it is placed in front of you. A little patience and adherence to the following will enhance and enlighten your pho experience.

Step One: Season your pho
Lift your spoon and sample the steamy broth. Mmmm. If the broth is a little bland, add a dash of fish sauce. Not too much, just a little at first and more if you need it. Next, add a sprinkle of black pepper and squeeze an entire wedge of lime into your bowl.

Step Two: Add herbs and sprouts
Add about a handful of beansprouts to your pho. Use your chop-sticks to push them down to the bottom of the bowl. Make sure to submerge any pieces of rare beef that are still pink as well. Next, add 10-12 leaves of Thai Basil to your bowl after removing them from the stems. If your pho restaurant serves saw herb, tear 2-3 of them into one inch long pieces and place them in the pho as well. Add 3-4 slices of serrano chili if you enjoy your pho spicy. Alternately, keep the serrano chili to the side for later use.

Step Three: Prepare for dipping
Squeeze some hoisin sauce and sriracha chili into a small saucer. A 50/50 split is recommended, but use less sriracha if you are sensitive to spicy foods. Mix the two sauces together where they meet along the border using the tip of your chopsticks. Take a taste of your creation.

At this point some like to add a splash of hoisin or sriracha chili to the broth. Purists frown on this practice, but to each his own.

Step Four: Time to eat
You are now ready to enjoy your pho! Use your chopsticks and spoon to evenly mix all the ingredients in your bowl. Pair pieces of beef with Thai basil, saw herb or a slice of serrano chili - dip into the hoisin sauce / siracha chili mixture you made in Step Three. Don't forget to sip the broth in between bites of noodles and beef. Enjoy!