A traditional Vietnamese noodle dish, pho consists of meat and ban pho, a medium-wide rice stick noodle (see rice noodles) served in a bowl of clear broth flavored with seasonings such as star anise, ginger, ngo gai (see saw-leaf herb) and onion. Accompaniments served with pho to be added by the diner include basial, bean sprouts, cabbage, chili peppers, green or white onions, wedges of lemon or lime, mint and cilantro. Accompanying sauces can include black bean sauce, chili sauce, fish sauce and hoisin. Pho is most commonly made with beef broth and served with thin slices of rare to medium-rare beef, in which case it's called bo pho. Variations include chicken, fish, pork or meatballs.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.