We eat a lot of noodles and I often make Chicken or Beef Pho. This soup really kicks my usual pho recipe out of the kitchen because: 1. The lemongrass adds a lightness and sparkle to the broth flavor to offset the heaviness of the chicken stock. 2. Instead of the traditional rice noodles, the udon have a very satisfying texture and great slurp. Of course, it also retains the best aspects of pho, the rich broth, succulent noodles, and fresh herb garnishes.
Another beautiful thing about this recipe is that it is very adaptable to individual tastes-- indeed, I felt like the three bears making our soup bowls: Daddy bear gets a big dollop of hot sauce, Mommy bear gets potatoes because she misjudged the amount of udon, plus lots of garnish, and baby bear gets noodle and meat, but NO GREEN BITS. Everyone is happy. To accomodate baby bear, we skipped the bird chili in favor of a Thai Chili garlic sauce garnish. I also used Fish sauce instead of soy sauce, because I love that fish sauce funk.
In summary, great recipe, which we will make again and again. I can't wait to try the rest of the noodle recipes from this article.
Edited to add the link to the recipe...