Traditional recipes

Vietnamese beef pho recipe

Vietnamese beef pho recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef soup
  • Beef noodle soup

In this classic soup, paper-thin slices of beef are cooked with rice noodles in individual serving bowls into which hot beef stock, herbs and spices have been added. For a more authentic tasting pho - you will need to go to an Asian shop and buy pho stock cubes.

97 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 3.5L (6 3/8 pints) beef stock
  • 1 large onion, sliced into rings
  • 6 slices fresh root ginger
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 500g (1 1/4 lb) beef sirloin steak, cut into thin slices
  • 225g (8 oz) beansprouts
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves only
  • 1 bunch fresh mint, leaves only
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, chopped
  • 3 fresh green chillies, sliced into rings
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 1 (500g) packet dried rice noodles
  • hoisin sauce to serve
  • hot sauce to serve
  • fish sauce to serve

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:1hr20min ›Ready in:1hr30min

  1. In a large stockpot, combine stock, onion, ginger, lemon grass, cinnamon and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Arrange beansprouts, mint, basil and coriander on a platter with chilies and lime.
  3. Soak the noodles in hot water to cover for 15 minutes or until soft. Drain. Place equal portions of noodles into 6 large soup bowls, and place raw beef on top. Ladle hot stock over noodles and beef. Pass platter with garnishes and sauces.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(96)

Reviews in English (64)


This is missing the many spices (Star Anise, Cloves, etc.) that makes Pho...Pho. The Lemon grass also throws it off. I've never seen lemon grass introduced in Vietnamese Pho. It might be in some other types of Asian noodle type soup but never in Vietnamese Pho.-24 Jul 2008


good Pho. For those of you with difficulty slicing beef thin, try this: Pop your cut of beef into the freezer (suggest you wrap it first in clingfilm)... 10-30 minutes and you'll be dancing - chilly beef makes for easy slicing (be sure to use a sharp knife as well). Bring to room temperature before finishing off in bowl.-24 Jul 2008

by KK

Basically, I have a recommendation for authentic vietnamese pho. Go to your local asian shop and buy the actual pho stock cubes. This makes the pho taste authentic, rather than making your own stock or buying british stock cubes. Happy eating!!-24 Jul 2008

  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 cups unsalted beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 4 ounces pad thai rice noodles
  • 2 cups halved snap peas
  • 1 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions (4 medium)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced chile peppers, such as serrano or jalapeño
  • Lime wedges for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger, pepper, cinnamon, and cloves cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth and fish sauce bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and divide among 4 bowls.

Add snap peas, onion, and beef to the broth. Simmer until the beef is just cooked through, about 1 minute remove from heat.

Ladle the soup over the noodles. Divide bean sprouts, scallions, basil, and chiles among the bowls. Serve with lime wedges.


  • 2 large onions, split in half
  • 1 large hand ginger (about 6 inches long), split in half lengthwise
  • 3 pounds beef shin, with meat attached
  • 2 pounds oxtail, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch thick slices
  • 1 pound boneless beef chuck
  • 1 pound beef brisket
  • 3 whole star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (preferably yellow rock sugar)
  • Kosher salt
  • To Serve:
  • 6 to 8 servings pho noodles
  • 1 pound beef flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
  • 2 to 3 cups mixed herbs (cilantro, basil, and mint)
  • 2 to 3 cups trimmed bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • Thinly sliced Thai chiles
  • 2 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
  • Hoisin sauce and Sriracha

10 cups rich beef stock
5 small limes
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
2 star anise seeds (optional)
1 package (13 ounce size) Thai rice sticks
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts
6 green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 pound beef sirloin
1 cup basil leaves
2 jalapenos
4 serrano chiles
Additional fish sauce
Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce

Bring beef stock to a boil in a large stock pot with the juice of 3 of the limes, fish sauce, and star anise if using. Let stock boil for 15 minutes.

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook rice sticks according to package directions. Drain rice sticks.

While noodles are cooking and stock is heating, prep the condiments. Slice green onions on a long diagonal. Roughly chop cilantro. Slice beef into a thin a slice as possible with a very sharp knife. Rinse basil, dry, and put on platter for service. Slice remaining limes and arrange next to basil on serving platter. Thinly slice chiles and arrange on serving platter.

Place platter on table with fish sauce and chili sauce. When noodles are cooked and drained, divide among six bowls. On top of noodles, divide evenly the bean sprouts, sliced green onions and cilantro. Top herbs with rare beef divided evenly between bowls.

Remove star anise from stock. Ladle hot stock over each bowl of noodles and beef. Serve immediately.

Allow each person to season bowl to taste with additional lime juice, basil, sliced chilies, fish sauce and chili sauce.

4 Key Steps to Make Pho Broth

Here are the 4 steps and secrets to making a proper pho broth:

  1. Pre-boiling the beef bones and meat
  2. Charring the ginger and onions
  3. Toasting the spices
  4. Adding fish sauce (said Vietnamese friend told me that one of the secrets to a great pho recipe is to not add salt, and instead add enough fish sauce to bring the broth to the correct level of saltiness.)

I know, it’s a lot of fish sauce! However, she said that this method tastes the best, but most people don’t do it because fish sauce is so expensive.

She also mentioned, rather proudly, that the Vietnamese brands of fish sauce are much more flavorful (and expensive at $9-$12 a bottle) than the Thai brands most people buy. Which is just food for thought.

In accordance with this insider information, feel free to add more fish sauce to the broth and decrease the amount of salt. As is our mantra here at The Woks of Life, it’s all up to your own taste preferences! Oh, and definitely buy a high quality fish sauce for this pho recipe. It will only make your broth better!

Traditional Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe- Poppa Trinh’s Recipe + Video

Vietnamese Pho Tips- How to make a flavorful and clear broth at home!

Vietnamese Pho- Pho is the national dish of Vietnam and is unarguably the most popular Vietnamese dish as well.

There is no such thing as a good, quick pho. Pho is basically a Vietnamese bone broth flavored with some Vietnamese aromatics and served with rice noodles and fresh herbs. A good bone broth requires good bones and more importantly a long cook time to really release collagen and all those really good & beneficial nutrients.

This family recipe is so comforting and richly seasoned. Steeping hot fragrant beef broth is ladled over flat rice noodles and thinly sliced beef and topped off with fresh herbs and vegetables like cilantro, basil, mint, bean sprouts, lime juice and bean sprouts.

This was always a Trinh staple on Sunday afternoons. My dad would actually start cooking the beef bone broth on Saturday and would continue to cook the broth into Sunday which made for a very deep and fragrant broth (keep in mind that a good beef bone broth steeps for 12-24 hours so you can imagine the flavor with extended broth times). A few things that my dad does differently is his special dry spice ratio, charring ginger and onions and adding daikon to the broth which adds a little sweetness to the pho without adding too much sugar.

There's a few tips to making great pho. So, what makes a great pho you ask?

1. The broth has to be really fragrant, gelatinous, flavorful with a little fat.
2. The broth should be clear and rich in color, velvety, glutinous like a rich bone broth BUT not cloudy.

Here are a few tips to make your Pho, the Trinh way:
1. Brush and wash your bones to get rid of any impurities and grit. Parboil your bones with a little vinegar and salt to clean your bones (doing this will help with a clearer broth).
2. Grill and char your ginger and onion to enhance the flavor of the aromatics in your pho broth.
3. Leave your broth undisturbed while it's simmering, too much tampering and stirring of the pot will cloud your broth. When making the broth and simmering the key to a clear broth is to avoid stirring the pot and moving things around. Also keep it at a low simmer and remove as much of the top of the impurities as possible and this will also help with a purer broth.
4. Add your dry spices in the very end, adding it early can cloud your pho and make it taste a little off.
*About the meats: my dad likes to freeze the eye round steak for about an hour or so until it’s almost frozen so that it’s SUPER easy to cut ultra thin pieces of the rare sliced beef!
*You need about 2-2.5 lbs of beef bones per gallon of water.
*Parboil bones- this will release most of the impurities from the bones and will result in a clearer broth.

5 lbs beef bones (Mixed bones, whatever you can get: shank bones, or beef bones, mixed beef leg bones, shin, knuckle and marrow bones, *achilles tendon/foot, femur bone and any knuckle or joint bones are really good because they’re rich in cartilage and tendons)
1.5-2 lbs of oxtail
1.5-2 lbs eye round beef steak (place in freezer for 1 hour to cut thin strips)
*Few pieces of tendons / cartilage pieces (optional)

18-24+ cups water (

1.5 gallons)
1 tbs salt
1 tbs sugar

2 tbs Vietnamese vegetable powder
1 large onion (charred)
4 thumb sizes of ginger (charred, rinsed off)
1 large piece of Daikon cut into four pieces

*1 tbs fish sauce or to taste, see note below, add as LAST ingredient to go in.

2" asian cinnamon stick cracked in quarters or smashed
8 pieces of dried cloves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 whole pieces of star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
3/4 tbs black peppercorns

1 bag vermicelli pho rice noodles

1 bunch green scallions, chopped thinly
1 bunch fresh mint
1 bunch cilantro (large stems removed, chopped semi-finely)
*1 handful of thai basil leaves (optional, since these are seasonal and hard to find)
1 thinly sliced red onion (add 1 tbs of vinegar and lightly mix and put in bowl to neutralize the onion some)
1 bag of bean sprouts
2 limes, cut into quarter wedges
Red chillies, chopped (served on side, chili seeds removed)
2-3 jalepenos cut into small slices
Deep fried shallots (served on side)

Hoisin sauce (served on side)
Fish sauce (served on side)
Sriracha hot sauce (served on side)

1. Clean the beef bones and oxtails. Run under cold water and use a brush to brush off any bone debris and grit.

2. Bring a large pot of water (enough to cover bones) to a rolling boil and add 2 tbs salt and 2 tbs Vinegar . Add beef bones and tendons, wait till it boils and then time about 3-5 minutes until all bones has released all its impurities and blood. Rinse bones under running water and clean using your hands to remove any grit off bones (use brush again if necessary) and set all aside in a clean bowl. Rinse and clean stock pot (dispose/dump out water- we will not be using that for broth).

2. Place eye round in freezer for 1 -2 hours until it’s partially frozen, at this point it will be easy to cut into super thin slices. Cut into thin slices, and place in a tupper ware and set in fridge until ready to serve.

3. Roast spices: In a small frying pan roast all the dried spices until fragrant on high to medium high heat until fragrant and lightly smokey (do not burn spices). Shake pan occasionally to prevent any burning. Transfer to bowl and let spices cool for handling. Then place into a spice colander container or tea bag (tie tightly so the spices don't spill out loose in your stock).

4. Roast ginger / onions: peel outer shell of onions, in broiler grill the ginger and onion until it's charred on all sides (turn as sides are charred).

OR dry roast to frying pan on medium high heat. When the pan is hot add ginger slices and onions to slightly burned and fragrant (If you have a grill char it on a grill!).

5. Add oxtail / bones in a clean pot. Add 18-24 cups of water so that all bones are covered.

6. Rinse off onion and garlic from loose skin/burnt skin. Add roasted onion and ginger and boil for about 30 min (no lid) on high until you get a nice boil and then set to a LOW simmer for 3-10 hours. (Occasionally remove any scum or impurities from top of broth without stirring too much).

7. After 3-4 hours when your broth is super fragrant, onions, daikon, ginger from your stock and discard. If you want a deeper, richer bone broth remove onions/daikon/ginger from stock after 3-4 hours and keep boiling bones up to 8-12 hours total. I like to put the broth in the fridge after day 1 (removing all daikon/onions), and one day 2 continue to cook broth then move on to step #8 below.

*Check your oxtails after 2-3 hours until tender and do not overcook or else they will fall apart in your broth (if you have different sized oxtails like smaller pieces of oxtail, make sure to take these out sooner as they will cook much faster than the very large pieces of oxtail, you want them super fork tender). Transfer oxtail after tender into a tupper ware or bowl and set aside in fridge.

*Remove all tendons and cartilage after 2-3 hour mark and boil separately in separate pot if they haven’t cooked tender yet (you can use a couple cups of your broth and a few cups of tap water to cook these down, cooking too much of the tendons in the pho broth will make it too gelatine’y). Cook tendons just till they’re about soft enough to eat.

8. When your broth is done to your liking add your spice bag and let simmer for 30 minutes then remove and dispose of spice bag after 30 min. Taste stock, and add sugar or salt to taste and add fish sauce.

9. To serve: Plate in bowl a nice helping of hot cooked vermicelli noodles to center of individual serving bowls. On top of each bowl add bean sprouts, onion, cooked brisket and a few slices of raw beef (it will cook in the piping hot broth bowl). Ladle in a few scoops of boiling broth to generously fill the bowl with your broth. Top with fresh onions, scallions, cilantro and thai basil.

Condiments and extra garnishes: Serve with side of extra bean sprouts, limes, jalepeno, cilantro, mint, thai basil, sriracha and hoison sauce.

Beef Pho (Pho Bo)

Author Andrea Nguyen, from "Into the Vietnamese Kitchen" (Ten Speed Press, 2006)


For the broth

  • 2 medium yellow onions (about 1 pound total)
  • 4-inch piece ginger (about 4 ounces)
  • 5-6 pounds beef soup bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
  • 5 star anise (40 star points total)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 pound piece of beef chuck, rump, brisket or cross rib roast, cut into 2-by-4-inch pieces (weight after trimming)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 ounce (1-inch chunk) yellow rock sugar (duong phen see Note)

For the bowls

  • 1 1/2-2 pounds small (1/8-inch wide) dried or fresh banh pho noodles ("rice sticks'' or Thaichantaboon)
  • 1/2 pound raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced paper-thin, left to soak for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water
  • 3 or 4 scallions, green part only, cut into thin rings
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro (ngo)
  • Ground black pepper

Optional garnishes arranged on a plate and placed at the table

  • Sprigs of spearmint (hung lui) and Asian/Thai basil (hung que)
  • Leaves of thorny cilantro (ngo gai)
  • Bean sprouts (about 1/2 pound) Red hot chiles (such as Thai bird or dragon), thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges


Prepare the pho broth

Char onion and ginger. Use an open flame on grill or gas stove. Place onions and ginger on cooking grate and let skin burn. (If using stove, turn on exhaust fan and open a window.) After about 15 minutes, they will soften and become sweetly fragrant. Use tongs to occasionally rotate them and to grab and discard any flyaway onion skin. You do not have to blacken entire surface, just enough to slightly cook onion and ginger.

Let cool. Under warm water, remove charred onion skin trim and discard blackened parts of root or stem ends. If ginger skin is puckered and blistered, smash ginger with flat side of knife to loosen flesh from skin. Otherwise, use sharp paring knife to remove skin, running ginger under warm water to wash off blackened bits. Set aside.

Parboil bones. Place bones in stockpot (minimum 12-quart capacity) and cover with cold water. Over high heat, bring to boil. Boil vigorously 2 to 3 minutes to allow impurities to be released. Dump bones and water into sink and rinse bones with warm water. Quickly scrub stockpot to remove any residue. Return bones to pot.

Simmer broth. Add 6 quarts water to pot, bring to boil over high heat, then lower flame to gently simmer. Use ladle to skim any scum that rises to surface. Add remaining broth ingredients and cook, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours. Boneless meat should be slightly chewy but not tough. When it is cooked to your liking, remove it and place in bowl of cold water for 10 minutes this prevents the meat from drying up and turning dark as it cools. Drain the meat cool, then refrigerate. Allow broth to continue cooking in total, the broth should simmer 3 hours.

Strain the pho broth through fine strainer. If desired, remove any bits of gelatinous tendon from bones to add to your pho bowl. Store tendon with cooked beef. Discard solids.

Use ladle to skim as much fat from top of the pho broth as you like. (Cool it and refrigerate it overnight to make this task easier reheat before continuing.) Taste and adjust flavor with additional salt, fish sauce and yellow rock sugar. The pho broth should taste slightly too strong because the noodles and other ingredients are not salted. (If you've gone too far, add water to dilute.) Makes about 4 quarts.

Assemble pho bowls:

The key is to be organized and have everything ready to go. Thinly slice cooked meat. For best results, make sure it's cold.

Heat the pho broth and ready the noodles. To ensure good timing, reheat broth over medium flame as you're assembling bowls. If you're using dried noodles, cover with hot tap water and soak 15-20 minutes, until softened and opaque white. Drain in colander. For fresh rice noodles, just untangle and briefly rinse in a colander with cold water.

Blanch noodles. Fill 3- or 4-quart saucepan with water and bring to boil. For each bowl, use long-handle strainer to blanch a portion of noodles. As soon as noodles have collapsed and lost their stiffness (10-20 seconds), pull strainer from water, letting water drain back into saucepan. Empty noodles into bowls. Noodles should occupy 1/4 to 1/3 of bowl the latter is for noodle lovers, while the former is for those who prize broth.

If desired, after blanching noodles, blanch bean sprouts for 30 seconds in same saucepan. They should slightly wilt but retain some crunch. Drain and add to the garnish plate.

Add other ingredients. Place slices of cooked meat, raw meat and tendon (if using) atop noodles. (If your cooked meat is not at room temperature, blanch slices for few seconds in hot water from above.) Garnish with onion, scallion and chopped cilantro. Finish with black pepper.

Ladle in broth and serve. Bring broth to rolling boil. Check seasoning. Ladle broth into each bowl, distributing hot liquid evenly so as to cook raw beef and warm other ingredients. Serve your pho with with the garnish plate.


This recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen (Ten Speed Press, 2006). If you'd like to totally master pho, check out The Pho Cookbook, my 2017 book devoted to cooking and learning about one of my favorite food groups!

Yellow rock sugar (a.k.a. lump sugar) is sold in one-pound boxes at Chinese and Southeast Asian markets. Break up large chunks with hammer.

Courses Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Other pho recipes to explore:

    (on this blog) (Hanoi pho seminar booklet) ( (Food Network) (Food Network, Gourmet) ( blog)

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Vietnamese Beef Pho

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  • 450 g beef bones, cut in pieces (see tips)
  • 1400 g water
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 6 cm fresh root ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stalk fresh lemon grass, white part only, halved
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp mixed peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp dried fennel seeds
  • 80 g fish sauce
  • 50 g soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice (approx. 1 lime)
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt, to taste
  • 2 pinches ground white pepper, to taste
  • 300 - 350 g flat rice noodles (approx. 6 mm wide)
  • 300 - 350 g beef fillet steak, partially frozen, thinly sliced (approx. 3 mm thick)
  • 2 - 3 spring onions, thinly sliced diagonally, to serve
  • 8 - 10 sprigs fresh coriander, leaves only, to serve
  • 6 - 8 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only, to serve
  • 2 sprigs fresh Thai basil, leaves only, to serve
  • 100 g fresh bean sprouts, to serve
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded if preferred and finely sliced, to serve
  • 1 - 2 limes, cut in wedges, to serve

Pho Bo – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Yields: 6 servings
Calories: 367 calories
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 8 hours 30 minutes
Total: 9 hours 15 minutes
Keywords: noodle, beef


  • 1 kg of oxtail (rinsed and boiled) You can also add other ingredients such as beef tendons and fish cakes
  • 1 kg of beef knee (rinsed and boiled)
  • 15 cm ginger (sliced in half)
  • 1 pcs onion (sliced in half)
  • 4 pcs of cloves
  • 2 pcs of anise / deaf flower
  • 1 tsp Cumin / anise
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 800 gr pho noodles (rinsed), pho noodles can be replaced with local yellow noodles, kwetiau or vermicelli.
  • 300 gr thin slices of beef (sukiyaki)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 cup mint
  • 1 cup basil / basil
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 pcs lime (cut into 4 pieces)
  • 2 pcs cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 4 L of Water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, according to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, according to taste

How to Cook

  1. First, in a skillet over medium heat toast cinnamon, cloves, cumin / fennel, and coriander seeds. Set aside.
  2. Place the halved onion and ginger on a metal tray. With a small gas cylinder with a fire atomizer at the end. Grill the onions and ginger until they are black on all sides.
  3. (Baking the spices brings out a spicy flavor. If you don’t have a blowtorch, place the halved onion and ginger on a metal wire rack and place directly on the gas stove. Turn the wire rack occasionally until charred and black on all sides).
  4. In a saucepan over high heat, boil 4L of water and add the onion, ginger and roasted spices with ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp fish sauce.
  5. Stir vigorously to the broth mixture until it boils. Before reducing the heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the boiled oxtail and beef knee to the soup stock and simmer for 3 hours. Occasionally strain the fat and foam using a spoon to remove foam on the surface.
  7. After 3 hours, use a colander to remove the onions, ginger and spices. Let it boil again for up to 3 hours.
  8. About 6 hours later, the broth should be reduced to half. Then, transfer the meat to a bowl and remove the meat from the bones. Place the bones back into the broth.
  9. (Boil the oxtail & beef bones in boiling water for 15 minutes, until the surface is bubbly. Remove the oxtail and beef bones from the pan and rinse with cold water. To reduce cooking time, you can replace 4 L of water, oxtail and beef bones with 4 L. beef broth)

Finally, in a serving bowl, place the boiled noodles, beef, raw sukiyaki and spoon with hot broth. Serve hot with mint leaves, coriander, basil, lime wedges, bean sprouts and chopped chilies on the side.

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