From Iceland — Soup Tuesday: Núðlusúpa, Simple Vietnamese Pho

Soup Tuesday: Núðlusúpa, Simple Vietnamese Pho

Published December 22, 2015

Soup Tuesday: Núðlusúpa, Simple Vietnamese Pho
York Underwood
Photo by
York Underwood

Vietnam: the war with the best soundtrack and the country with the best soup. On a cold winter day, or a lazy hungover morning, there is nothing like a noodle bowl to restore the body and ease the soul. Originating in Hanoi, Pho, pronounced “fuh”, is the love child of Chinese and French imperialism.

This version is incredibly simple, delicious and egregious cultural appropriation. Feel free to add even more to your bowl, and customize it to your own palette. You could easily switch out beef with any other meat (or none) and the broth doesn’t have to be beef broth. It’s just the most common style.

The star of the show is the broth, an infusing of spices that you simply must try. This is the one soup I would recommend making to impress a date, a roommate or a family member.

Also, it’s great if you’re sick. Star Anise, the cool looking, liquorice scented spice, contains a chemical called shikimic acid, which is used for the synthesis of oseltamivir, an antiviral drug medication for flus.

If we were an even less ethical magazine, we would claim that this soup is a cure for the common cold. However, that would be claiming far too much.

The only thing this soup is guaranteed to do is make you smarter, more attractive and rich.


Núðlusúpa: Simple Vietnamese Pho

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time:   60 minutes


400 g Beef Tenderloin

3     Star Anise Seeds

3     Cinnamon sticks

3     Whole Cloves

1   Heaping tablespoon of Coriander seeds (ground or whole)

2     Onions

3     Carrots

1    Middle finger sized chunk of Ginger

1.5L   Cold Water

1      Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1.5   Tablespoons Fish Sauce

Fresh cilantro, bean sprouts, green onions, lime wedges and enough beef bouillon for 1.5 litres of water.


1. Set the pot on medium high heat and add the spices. Let them roast and crackle for a minute.

Spices Núðlasúpa

2. Peel and quarter the onions. Peel the ginger and slice into strips.

Onions and Ginger

3. Add the onions and ginger to the pot. Cook them for about two minutes.

Spices and Onions and Ginger

4. Peel and chop the carrots.


5. Add the carrots, water, bouillon (beef in this case) to the pot. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce. Bring to a boil and then simmer for an hour to get all the flavours infused into the broth.

Núðlasúpa Broth

6. While the broth is simmering, cook the rice noodles in boiling water (follow the instructions on the bag–usually 5 minutes). Strain the noodles and run cold water over them to stop the noodles from cooking. Place in a bowl to the side.

Dry Rice Noodles

Cooked Rice Noodles

8. Dice up the green onions and cilantro (fresh coriander) and set to the side. Slice the lime into wedges and set aside.

Núðlasúpa Garnishs

Lime Wedges

9. 15 minutes before the broth is done, place the beef tenderloin in the freezer. After 15 minutes take out the tenderloin and slice it as thinly as you can with a knife. Strain the broth with a colander to make a nice clean broth with no chunks. In a bowl, put a handful of noodles and some sliced beef. Ladle the broth over the noodles and beef and garnish with cilantro, bean sprouts, green onions and a lime wedge or two. Serve with Sriracha and Hoisin sauce on the side. Enjoy!


Remember to share this recipe with your friends and loved ones.

Also, send us your recipes. Let’s get through this winter together.

One Soup Tuesday at a time.

WTF is a Soup Tuesday?

As the sun yet again makes her life-draining descent towards winter solstice, it becomes clear: fall has arrived. The darkness in store will likely bring a lot of you down, but don’t fret or give up—there are a number of methods for fighting off the winter blues: Reading, lýsi, sex, drugs, alcohol, and—of course—soup. Now, doing most of those things would be mostly inappropriate, if not illegal, at the Reykjavík Grapevine’s offices (if it were one of those “appropriate” offices)—except for maybe the lýsi and reading. And of course, the soup.

Lýsi is kinda disgusting and reading is for nerds, so to combat the coming full-scale attack of the SADs, we decided to started a new tradition to help us make it through the coming winter: SOUP TUESDAYS. Yes! Soup Tuesdays! Every Tuesday, we’ll be making a different soup in our shitty little office, document the process and then show you how to make one for yourself.

You can also send us your best recipes (on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email), with a photo, so we can share soup knowledge throughout the world. Together we can make it through the bad weather.

Solace and Solidarity in Soup.

Happy Soup Tuesday.


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