Thai Phi frames his warning in the gentlest of terms: “Pho is definitely a labor of love.” In other words, it’s not a soup you throw together for a quick weeknight meal. But the Pink Bellies owner insists the investment is worthwhile.

“The aromas draw the family into the kitchen,” he promises.

For home cooks pressed for time, premade chicken stock is the most obvious shortcut. “The flavors will be off, as store-bought stocks contain other flavorings such as celery and carrots, and sodium will have to be adjusted, but some of the pho flavors can still be achieved,” Phi says.

- Hanna Raskin