It is winter holidays "Vinterferie" in Norway and what is best than a warm and comforting soup for dinner? 

At HIbiscus Dinners, we love to discover new flavors during of trips all around the world. Last Christmas we were in Vietnam and we tried lots of delicious food. The Pho Bo is the emblematic dish served everywhere in Vietnam, from North to South, mainly in the streets. It is a long recipe to prepare but a simple one!

The Pho is a popular Vietnamese soup mostly sold by street vendors. If the basis of the soup is always a meat-based broth, the recipe differs from North to South Vietnam as well as from village to another. You can find it with soy sprouts, more or less herbs, sweeter, sourer, each family has its own way of preparing it.

Grill the bones for extra flavors

Grill the bones for extra flavors

You can make this soup with chicken, pork, goat or any kind of meat but you could also innovate and make one based on seafood or fish. Every family has its own recipe, the one I will give you is my own according to my taste and the ingredients we can find in Oslo. 


It's a dish that takes a bit of time to make, several hours actually, so you better make enough to enjoy it for 2 meals. The broth is better longer is simmers.

For 6 persons:

The broth:

-1,5kg oxtail
-2-3 bones with marrow
-3 big white onions
-1 piece of ginger (7-8cm long)
-4 pieces of lemongrass

The Spices:

-10 cloves
-6 star anise
-1 Ts coriander seeds
-1 Ts black pepper corn
-1 black Cardamom
-1 cinnamom stick of 7cm


-1 Ts coarse sea salt
-3 to 4 Ts Fish Sauce according to your taste
-40g palm sugar or regular sugar

For serving:

-600g beef tenderloin
-400g dry rice noodles for Pho
-1 Bunch Thai Basil
-1 bunch Coriander
-1 bunch Long Coriander
-1 bunch spring onions
-1 white onion
-2 limes
-Thai Chili (optional)

Color and toast the vegetables and spices so your broth will be sweeter and darker.

Color and toast the vegetables and spices so your broth will be sweeter and darker.


-Place the oxtail into a tray that goes in the oven.
-Place in the oven under the grill (300°C) in order to color the meat - You want a result that would be similar as if you were grilling it on a barbecue. 
-At the same time, peel the onions/cut them in 2, smash the lemongrass sticks, cut the ginger in 2 without peeling it. Color them in a high heat pan until burnt (place a piece of aluminium in the pan first, so your pan won't burn). To color the onions bring the color and sweetness to the broth. If you use gas, you can put the aluminium directly on the flame.
-Toast the spices quickly in the pan at high heat.
-When the meat is colored, place in a pot where you have poured 4L-5L of water. Add the bones.
-Add the colored vegetables and spices in the pot. Simmer gently in medium heat (it should boil slowly) for 3h. During that time, a foam will form on top, remove it with a small laddle, get rid of it.
-After 3h, add the sugar, the salt and fish sauce. Simmer for an extra 2h.
-After 5h in total, drain the broth. Keep the oxtail and any bones that have meat on it. Get rid of the rest (ginger, onions, bones…). You can use the meat from the broth for your next Hachis Parmentier or make wontons.

-If you are planning to eat the soup the next day, cool it down and place in the fridge.

Add the thin slices of raw beef just before pouring the hot broth

Add the thin slices of raw beef just before pouring the hot broth

-Place the rice noodles in water 30min before eating the soup. Eventually pour boiling water for 1-2min after to cook them through.
-Wash the herbs, cut the beef in thin slices, cut the onion and spring onions and some thai chilis (optional).
-Place in a plate, the herbs, the chili and lime. Place the spring onions and onion in a bowl.
-In a large bowl, place the rice noodles and some beef slices on top. Pour on top very warm broth.
-At the table add herbs and onions, chilis and lime according to your taste. 

-Following the southern way of eating the Pho, you could add Hoisin sauce and Sriracha Sauce.

The final result of several hours of work: believe me it's worth it!

The final result of several hours of work: believe me it's worth it!

Where to find the ingredients in Oslo:

-Asian Supermarket: A Food Market or ScanAsia
-Norwegian quality meat: Annis Pølsemakeri Mathallen


-You can add some soy sprouts
-You can use chicken to prepare the broth, the instructions are the same
-If you have less time, simmer only for 2h. But remember, longer it simmers better it gets!
-Grilling the bones and meat on a barbecue is the best
-In the south, they add some pickles: shallots and chili slightly covered with sugar then rice vinegar. Let sit for 30min at least.