Pho alone is delicious, but we wanted to share some fun ways to jazz up your pho on days you are feeling a little more adventurous. In our soup kits, you can already customize how much broth you add to your bowl and how much or little lime you include, but it doesn’t have to stop there. In fact, Southern Vietnamese style pho tends to be a little bolder and spicier with more herbs and garnishes than what is served in Northern Vietnam. There are no hard and fast rules but we wanted to share some common and perhaps not-so-common things you can add to your pho to make your bowl as unique as you are.
You can add any number of vegetables, but this is a great opportunity to add a little more crunch and spice to your bowl. For crunch, you could add some fresh, bean sprouts (make sure you wash them very well) or shredded carrots for a touch of color. For spice, it is common to add slices of fresh hot peppers such as serrano peppers or Thai red chilis, which will be a few thousand SHU points higher than jalapeno on the Scoville Scale (translation = VERY SPICY).
Herbs up the game on freshness and provide an even more memorable, restaurant quality experience. Some quick wins include Thai basil, a bolder, spicier cousin of the regular basil you get from the supermarket, and cilantro. If you don’t like the taste of cilantro or think it tastes soapy, you are not alone due to a genetic quirk. An option is ground coriander, which comes from the same plant, but doesn’t have the same soapy taste.
If you are like me, I can’t eat anything anymore without sriracha sauce. There are other options if you are feeling adventurous. Who knows – there could be a new sauce king in your household after tasting these delicious condiments for your pho. For starters, hoisin is a common and excellent choice. Hoisin is a thick, dark, sweet, and salty sauce commonly used in Chinese cooking that adds depth to your pho. Another, and my personal favorite, is XO sauce, a spicy and savory condiment with a relish-like consistency that originated in Hong Kong. Generally made with dried scallops and shrimp, it is insanely flavorful and slightly addicting.