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At Novotaste, we understand the critical role of harmony in food science. The delicate yet elaborate interplay of flavouring compounds is undoubtedly an elusive art. Although every path to a remarkable flavour is a tightrope walk, this rarely rings truer than in profiles as outstanding as Pho. For those who may be unfamiliar, Pho is a uniquely Vietnamese dish that was first created in Northern Vietnam in the 1880s. It is a culinary inspiration that reflects a complex equilibrium in a relatively unassuming form. The result: a deeply soulful, satisfying dish that is appreciated throughout the world. The Novotaste R&D team recently went down the rabbit hole with Vietnamese flavours, especially the national dish of Vietnam, and have returned with some flavour creations inspired by their experiences.

At first glance, Pho appears quite typical but its flavours run deep. Pho naturally marries the soup and the noodle dishes and is typically served with meat and vegetables. The noodle of choice is banh pho, a flat rice noodle, not the vermicelli noodles Western diners are more accustomed to. In a basic Pho, the meats -everything from tripe, to sirloin beef slivers, to oxtail, to grilled chicken, to barbecued pork, to an ocean’s worth of seafood- are set upon a bed of banh pho and a variety of vegetables, including bean sprouts, carrots and green onions. The boiling hot broth is then poured in before the dish is garnished with chilis, Thai basil, coriander and lime. Sriracha and Hoisin sauces are usually made available but, as a sign of respect, it is important to taste the broth before adding any condiments.

The broth is the standard by which all Pho is judged. It is the signature of the cook, the product of years, if not generations of refinement, and it gives this dish such a characteristic flavour that no two kitchens are quite the same. A cook’s broth is as distinct as his or her fingerprint, a labour of love that elevates Pho to a profoundly intimate experience. The broth is derived from boiled beef joints and charred onion and ginger, then simmered with a special spice blend that usually consists of star anise, cinnamon, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves and black cardamom, but which varies considerably from region to region and cook to cook. Of course, even more complex recipes are common. Despite these variations, all great Pho is united by the harmonious balance of its ingredients and its textures, whether it be the smooth blend of spices, the interplay of salt to tangy to sweet, or the contrast between the silky broth, the crunchy bean sprouts and the chewy meats. Like most great foods, Pho is artfully balanced, transcending its intricate parts through perfect flavour chemistry.

Novotaste has developed its own signature Pho flavours, both an all-in-one spice and broth and a standalone spice blend based on essential oils. Fitting in traditional applications like broths, fish sauces and vegetable-based meat products, our flavour team has let their imaginations run wild, pairing their Pho blends with a multitude of profiles, including mocktails (e.g. rum & Pho spice), sodas (Pho root beer float), teas (Pho matcha latte) and baked goods (Pho ginger snaps). These flavours, though beefy in character, are completely vegan. They are also organic compliant, allergen free and fully customizable to meet your product development and regulatory needs. Whether for the authentic, the interesting, the unique or the wild, our Pho flavours are designed to fit your needs.

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