I've noticed that both in Europe as well as Vietnam, the beef slices in noodle soups (in particular phở bò) tend to have two salient qualities:
- they are absurdly, melt-in-your-mouth tender, and
- they are very curled up.
The beef is sliced quite thinly and added to the bowl of boiling hot broth right before serving. In particular, the meat is not stewed or boiled beforehand. While I don't know what cut it was, the prices at the places I've eaten at suggest they most certainly did not use the most expensive, tender cuts, and yet the beef was softer than anything I've ever eaten, but also curled up tightly, even more than e.g. bacon does in a frying pan.
What's the procedure to obtain both properties above (which I assume connected)? I would venture the guess they use some sort of chemical meat tenderizer, but I am not sure when and how exactly.