Munchery is excited to offer signature dishes from renowned San Francisco restaurant, The Slanted Door! Learn more about the story behind each dish, from origins steeped in rich Vietnamese culinary traditions, to executive chef and owner Charles Phan’s fresh interpretations, to insider tips on eating and cooking the authentic Vietnamese way.
The Slanted Door’s Chicken Pho – At Your Door via Munchery
The Slanted Door’s Beef Pho, a signature lunch dish, is now available for home delivery exclusively through Munchery. Executive Chef and owner Charles Phan transforms this classic Vietnamese street food into a fine dining affair with grass-fed beef brisket in a full-bodied broth redolent of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. Simply heat the broth and noodles, mix in hoisin and chili sauce, and top with Thai basil and jalapeños.
A Delicious History of the Dish
Beef pho was born near Hanoi in the early 20th century when French colonialists’ demand for beef frequently left Vietnamese street vendors with unused beef bones. Wanting to sell something new, these vendors swapped the water buffalo meat they were using in trâu xào, a popular noodle soup at the time, for beef. The new beef noodle soup first gained popularity with workers and rose to fame when Hanoi’s colonial urbanization caused the number of street vendors to increase dramatically.
Often eaten for breakfast or lunch, beef pho is a hearty tradition that’s filling without being overwhelmingly heavy. Each bowl is built from the bottom up—first the noodles, then the meat, with hot stock ladled over at the last minute and garnishes served alongside. The order of each step is important because the beef is added raw, and the heat from the stock cooks it just enough to stay tender and fresh.
Chef Phan’s Inspiration
Despite being one of his more popular dishes (and perhaps the most popular Vietnamese dish in America), Charles Phan does not serve beef pho for dinner. For him, authenticity comes first:
“In the late 1960s and early 1970s my siblings and I weren’t allowed to go out in the streets alone because kids were being kidnapped and forced into the North Vietnamese army. We spent a lot of time inside our home, which was on the second floor above the general store my parents owned.
When it was time for breakfast, instead of going out for food, the food vendors would come to us. You could hear them before you saw them, noisily banging together bamboo sticks to get attention and announcing their wares with a shout. Imagine the Good Humor man, but instead of a truck it was a woman with a long bamboo pole across her shoulders.
On one end hung a pot of hot stock and on the opposite end were all of the other ingredients for a bowl of pho: noodles, herbs and chiles, pieces of meat. When we heard the call, we’d all rush to the window. Then, one at a time, we’d lower down the basket with an empty bowl and some money. The soup vendor would fill the bowl and we’d carefully lift it back up. Breakfast was served.”
Your Go-To Pro Tip
Hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce often accompany bowls of Pho bò, but they should never be added to the stock itself because they will overwhelm the delicate, beefy flavor. Instead, retrieve pieces of meat from the soup and drag them through the sauces just before eating. If you want a spicier broth, add more jalapeño slices. To slice the raw beef paper-thin, freeze the whole piece for 15 min before slicing, then pound the slices with a meat mallet or the back of a heavy knife.