Vietnamese ‘pho’ is often cooked with chicken and beef with its broth simmered from the bones of beef, chicken, onions, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and other spices.

But Hoang Trung Hieu, chef of La Chapelle restaurant in Au Trieu street, Hoan Kiem district, came up with the idea of cooking pho with medicinal plant materials to create a unique version for his restaurant goers.

It wasn’t until his fourth try that Hieu figured out how to balance the ingredients while cooking the dish.

To prepare for the dish, Hieu slow cooks medicinal plants including red algae, adlay, rehmannia glutinosa, and lotus seeds until they are concentrated into a thick liquid. The liquid is then added to the broth, which is traditionally cooked from chicken and pork bones.

The medicinal plant materials bring a pleasant scent and gentle, sweet and tasty flavour for the dish while helping eaters’ sleep, mental and physical health.

The dish is served with chicken and fresh mugwort.