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Boiled down to its soulful essence, the Vietnamese dish pho is rice stick noodles, delicately but intricately seasoned broth, and meat, plus a veritable garden of greenery alongside for garnish. All of these components combine to create a soup that’s spiced but not spicy, beefy (in its traditional pho bac guise) but somehow still light,

I haven’t been back to Vietnam for a few years now, but I imagine that the latest generation of noodle bars and soup shops that have grown up around Hanoi, and in the trendier sections of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), look an awful lot like Ben Lowell and Sara Leveen’s fine little East