Pho is a noodle soup originating in Northern Vietnam. It is filled with banh pho (flat rice noodles), meat, and herbs. This recipe for Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) includes two types of beef: brisket boiled in the beef stock and top round that is sliced so thinly that it cooks when the hot broth is poured over it. There are multiple garnishes that can accompany this soup. Use your favorites or include them all. I used Thai basil and cilantro from my garden, lime, jalapeno slices, and hoisin sauce. The sauces are not added to the soup. As you eat, dip the pieces of meat into the Sriracha and hoisin.
Banh Pho (Rice Sticks) are noodles made from rice flour. They differ from other types of rice noodles by being square or rectangular shaped (flat) on the edges, instead of the round shape (called bun). Banh Pho are sold either fresh or dried. Fresh banh pho are cooked in boiling water for only a few seconds, while dried noodles are soaked for about 15 minutes, until tender. The width of the noodles also vary. I used the wider noodles for Pho Bo. I was only able to find dried rice noodles at the local Asian food market. It is also on Amazon: A Taste of Thai Wide Rice Noodles, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6), but I have found it much cheaper in the local markets when available.
More information on Banh Pho.
The raw beef slices added to the top must be thin enough to cook when the soup is poured over it. To help slice them paper-thin, place the top round in the freezer about 15 minutes before using and pound with a meat tenderizer.