Beef stew, or bo kho, is a robust, spicy, and flavorful soup made with chopped beef, carrots, and lemongrass. Bo kho is typically served with half a dozen different kinds of fresh herbs and can be eaten alone, with a warm piece of bread for dipping, or over noodles. A really delicious bowl of bo kho is hard to find because the cooking process is long and complex, but when you do, there’s nothing quite like it.
Compared to pho, this stew is much earthier in flavor and heavier in texture. Star anise, cinnamon, red chile, cloves, black pepper, garlic, shallots, ginger, and even nutmeg, turmeric, and fennel seeds can all be utilized to make the rich and spicy foundation of this hearty stew.
The spices gain body from the slow-cooked beef and bones. Numerous lemongrass sticks that have been broken into pieces can be seen floating up and down in the amber broth of each large pot of steaming bo kho. The soup is given a bright and lemony balance by the lemongrass, which cuts through the deep, rich flavors of the meat and spices.
Although it is frequently served all day, bo kho is generally eaten for breakfast. Although it may seem strange to eat a filling, spicy meat stew first thing in the morning, the mix of powerful spices and tangy lemongrass, as well as the harmony of rich and light flavors, make this dish more likely to awaken you than to make you feel sluggish.
Try the stew with bread, over noodles, or all by itself. Pho 95 serves bo kho with bean sprouts, basil, shredded cabbage, jalapeño, and limes on the side so you can adjust your flavor preferences. The bean sprouts or cabbage will mellow out the flavor, the basil will enrich it. The pepper will of course make it spicier and the lime cuts the heat and complements the lemongrass.
You can find Vietnamese dishes all over the Metroplex, but there aren’t many restaurants that just serve authentic bo kho. So come to Pho 95 and warm up to a cozy bowl of bo kho.