‘I’ve never had a good pho in London,’ says Uyen Luu. ‘They seem watered down – nothing that a Vietnamese person would go back for.’ Uyen has lived in Hackney since she was a schoolgirl, and run supperclubs from her house for three years. She has shown Jamie Oliver and the FT how to make pho, using know-how she picked up from her mother, who, in turn refined her own technique over years.
It’s a breakfast dish in Vietnam, invented in Hanoi – the result of cross-pollination between French pot au feu and Vietnamese noodle soup with fresh herbs. Uyen is from Saigon, so this pho has more oomph than the minimal version made by most London Vietnamese, who tend to originate from the north.