There’s lots of agreement about what makes for a good bowl of the traditional Vietnamese noodlesoup called pho (it’s pronounced “fuh”). Pho bo tai is the popular beef and noodle version, with raw beef added to cook in the hot broth.
The aroma should rise up and make you hungry. The broth should be steamy, but not so hot that it will instantly cook the beef through. (The best pho joints keep the thinly sliced beef cold, and add it in a clump, so it remains rare in the center.)
No one flavoring should dominate; charred ginger, star anise, and the various herbs, should combine into a flavorful whole. The broth should have a silky feel from the long cooking of bones and meat.
Each bowl will get broth, noodles that have some body, and a choice of meat. There’ll be a variety of garnishes from which to choose: bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, scallions, and lime to brighten the flavors. Add some of the sweet and hot sauces, to your taste.