Vietnamese Pho Soup

In the autumn last year my friend said he would take me to the best soup in the city. I did not take it seriously at all but I eagrely walked to the restaurant since I am very passionate about discovering new tastes and places. That place was not different from many other Asian restaurants in Copenhagen that I had visited before. It was Monday and Mondays are usually slow days. It was very quiet and cozy then. We knew what we came for on the spot- for that biggest promise which was the soup- Pho soup, but I didn't know the name at that time. After a few minutes the waiter brought us a few spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce- they were good, very good I'd say, but we were still waiting for the soup. After a moment he came back- now with a plate of herbs to my surprise. We did not order something like that, I thought, but I asked my friend what that was. Completly unmoved, he replied this was garnish for the Pho soup. Finally, it arrived- the main attraction of the evening- steamy and aromatic, looking like an ordinary chicken soup, maybe sligthy darker. My friend told me that I should place the fresh herbs, lime, chilli pepper and bean sprouts on top of the soup. So, I finally tried it. That was amazing! The taste was so good that I will never forget that! It was a prefect match of the beef boulion with anise, cinnamon, fennel seeds, ginger...stunning! And on top of that crunchy bean sprouts and tender beef... 

My culinary skills cannot compare to the skills of the master who made the best soup I had ever eaten. However, since last week I felt so much like eating the soup again and I decided to cook it on the basisis of a few Internet recipes that I found. The result- not that great like the prevous time but definitely delicious and satisfying.
There's a lot to say and write about Pho soup, as it can be made in many different ways, but today I am presenting the easiest of all.

Ingredients (for about 5-6 servings):

- 2 big beef knuckle bones
- 1 piece of ginger (about 8 cm long)
- 2 medium onions
- 1 teaspoon of five-spice powder (you can read more about it in this article)
- about 400 g of beef (in one piece)
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- salt
- sugar
- Thai rice noodles
- 1 lime
- a bunch of fresh corriander
- 1 fresh chilli pepper
- bean sprouts (optional)

Cut the ginger into halves and quarter the onions. Place them on a metal tray spread with the alumni foil. Put in the oven and keep 20-25 min in the oven in 220 degrees. 
Put the beef bones in a large pot and pour the cold water. Cook for 5 min. after it boils. Then pour the water away, clean the bones again and put in a pot with fresh cold water. Add the ginger and onion and the five-spice powder. Simmer for 3 hours.
Clean the beef and dry it with a paper towel. Place in a freezer for 15 min. This way it will be easier for you to slice the beef. Take the beef out from the freezer and slice it very thinnly (1-2 mm).
Slice the chilli pepper thinnly. Rinse the corriander with cold water and dry it. Quarter the limes. Place all the garnish nicely on a separate plate. I also recommend using some bean sprouts.
Rice noodles:
Prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the packet with one exception- cook the noodles with SALTY water.
When the boulion is ready add spices to your own taste: the salt (I added quite a lot), little sugar (I added 2 teaspoons), fish sauce and soy sauce.
Place the noodles in a bowl and top the with the thinnly sliced beef. Pour the boiling hot boulion- this way the beef will get cooked instantly.
Garnish with your favourite herbs, bean sprouts, lime and chllies.