Vietnamese Pho soup is a perfect and balanced combination of flat rice noodles, rich-nutrition broth, top up with tender slices of beef or chicken and some herbs. This is a masterpiece of Vietnamese cuisine and as a food symbol of Vietnam.

Table Contents
  • I - What is Pho?
  • 1 - Pho origin & history
  • 2 - What does pho taste like?
  • 3 - Pho meaning in Vietnamese cuisine
  • 4 - How many types of pho in Vietnam?
  • II - What is in Pho noodle soup?
  • 1 - Pho noodles
  • 2 - Broth
  • 3 - Meats for traditional Pho
  • 4 - Spices
  • 5 - Side dishes
  • III - The best Pho in Vietnam
  • 1 - Beef Pho
  • 2 - Chicken Pho
  • 3 - Instant Pho
  • IV - Vietnamese Pho restaurants
  • 1 - Enjoy Pho in Vietnam
  • 2 - Enjoy Vietnamese Pho in abroad
  • V - Recipe for a homemade bowl of Pho
Jan 26
what is pho soup
Source: Journeyonair
Vietnamese Pho is a outstanding dish with its delicious taste, unique processing method and high nutritional value. So, what is the origin of this dish, how it tastes and how to make a perfect Pho bowl?

I - What is Pho?

Pho pronounce sounds similar to “fuh'', in Vietnamese is “Phở”. Referring to Vietnamese cuisine, everyone immediately remembers "Pho", one of the dishes with widespread coverage in many different countries. 

1 - Pho origin & history

The origin of this dish is still controversial. Most commonly, many believe that Pho was born in the early years of the 20th century in Hanoi and Nam Dinh. Accordingly, Nam Dinh is famous for Pho Bo (Vietnamese beef pho) and Hanoi is famous for Pho Ga (Vietnamese chicken pho).

pho soup origin and history
Source: Independent.co

2 - What does pho taste like?

In terms of taste, any diners who have had the opportunity to enjoy pho would have the same opinion that the flavor of this dish is diverse: the crispy taste of pho noodles, the sweet fat of the broth (stewed from bones for hours) and sourness of lemon, fatty and aromatic aroma of fresh beef fibers and aromatic scent of scallions. Depending on the desire of the customers, the beef will be processed and cooked accordingly (well-done, medium rare or rare).
When enjoying the food, you can combine it with garlic vinegar, fresh chili, chilli pepper, pepper or pickled onion and herbs. Moreover, the nutritional value and full flavor have made Pho a familiar dish of Vietnamese people. Wherever in this S-shaped land, diners can find a place to enjoy this dish.

what does pho taste like
Source: Internet

3 - Pho meaning in Vietnamese cuisine

No one really knows since when Pho has held an important position in the cultural beauty of Vietnamese people including folk poetry, everyday stories and culinary culture. This is clearly shown in the essays of writer Nguyen Cong Hoan with the phrase "Sometimes I get to eat Pho (Street Pho)." Some are 2 cents, others are 3 cents or 5 cents or a painting of "A Pho Vendor in Hanoi" by French artist Maurica Salge in 1913. 
Internationally, pho is also the pioneer dish to bring Vietnamese cuisine into the world cuisine map. There are many gourmets and world-famous chefs who are "knocked out" by this rustic and delicious dish.

4 - How many types of pho in Vietnam?

chicken pho - types of pho in vietnam
Source: Delightfulplate
There are 6 popular types of Pho:
- Beef Pho: Broth, rice noodles, beef (beef tendon) and side dishes such as fresh lemon, chili sauce and raw vegetables.
- Chicken Pho: Broth, rice noodles, shredded chicken and shredded chicken skin served with chutney, lemon, garlic vinegar and raw vegetables.
- Rolled Pho: Noodles, rice noodles, rice noodles, vegetables and tubers, rolled and dipped with seasoning sauce or garlic sauce.
- Fried Pho: pho noodles are folded into a square and fried. Then stir fry with beef, indispensable and a little pepper.
- Stir-fried Pho: Pho noodles and other types of meat such as beef, seafood and vegetables are stir-fried together to form a dish full of flavor - color - taste.
- Grilled shrimp: Meat and shrimp meat are pureed and seasoned, then rolled up with rice noodles sandwiched with bamboo griddle and baked on charcoal. This is one of the famous dishes of Thanh Hoa province. 
There are also many dishes made from the ingredients of pho noodles. Depending on the interests and culture of each region and each family, there are ways to prepare and often this food is different.

II - What is in Pho noodle soup?

Are you wondering what ingredients a dish with such a long origin, unique flavor and rich processing methods will include? The main ingredients to create this unique dish are: 

1 - Pho noodles

The main ingredients for making noodles include: tapioca flour, peanut oil, rice flour, sesame oil and salt. The ingredients will be mixed together and a little water will be added to form a suitable mixture. Then spread evenly over a wide surface and steam until cooked.
Today, the making of pho is simpler with the help of machines and you can easily find pho in any local markets in Vietnam

broth in pho soup
Source: Kenh14

2 - Broth

Usually, the broth will use large bones and stew bone tunnel for many hours to create a natural sweet taste. Fatty broth is often added from the fat or tendons of the meat. 

3 - Meats for traditional Pho

The next important ingredient of pho is the meats. The most common are beef (lean shoulder, tendon, bucket or corn), chicken (chicken is shredded in fibrous form along with gizzards, eggs, colon and crunchy skin). When eating, the meat will be placed on the noodles and the broth will be added. 

4 - Spices

Spices or flavors commonly served with pho include: fresh scallions, cilantro . Some places have pickled onions, thinly sliced ​​dried garlic with vinegar and fresh peppers to create a strong aroma. 

5 - Side dishes

The food served with pho is also quite diverse such as: Quay - Vietnamese cruller (can be dipped into the broth or served directly with pho) or raw vegetables. Of course it is indispensable to have a slice of lime, the sourness of the lime will help the neutralized broth, the sweetness and the meat have a more attractive flavor. For those who want to enhance the fatty flavor of the meat may ask for more broth.

III - The best Pho in Vietnam

There are many ways of processing and creating a dish with the main ingredient of Pho, however, there are 3 dishes that are considered the most beloved:

1 - Beef Pho

With the main ingredient being beef, this nutritious dish has become an indispensable part of Vietnamese cuisine. Fresh, delicious beef slices are processed and reach different ripeness (well done/ rare) or can be a combination of both states. When eating, diners can taste the sweetness of the broth, the chewy texture of noodles and the soft sweetness of the meat. Combined with some scallions, fresh coriander and hot sprinkles, you have a "Vietnamese standard" breakfast. 

2 - Chicken Pho

Unlike beef Pho noodle, the main ingredient of this dish is chicken. The chicken meat will be torn into many fibers, the chicken skin is shredded. The parts such as gizzard, heart, liver, heart, kidney, young eggs or colon eggs are cooked and chopped. Then the cook puts in noodles, pours broth and adds onion and cilantro. When eating delicious chicken fibers, it will surely surprise you as retaining the inherent sweetness after boiling and tearing. 

vifon instant pho soup
Source: Shopee

3 - Instant Pho

If the processing of broth and meat served with beef and chicken noodle soup takes too much time, you can try to enjoy instant Pho. This version  is made by special technology and packaging. When using, you only need to add boiling water and wait a few minutes to have a hot bowl of pho, especially if you can easily buy instant noodles anywhere at supermarkets. Some popular brands such as: Vifon, De Nhat Pho, Miliket Pho, Ga Good Pho, Then-and-Now Pho, Red Bear Pho, Three-region Pho.

IV - Vietnamese Pho restaurants

Some famous Pho brands in Vietnam and abroad that customers should try stopping by once. 

1 - Enjoy Pho in Vietnam

Here are 3 of the Top 10 favorite Vietnamese pho restaurants in 2019, initiated by the Vietnam Food and Culture Association, Tuoi Tre Newspaper and Acecook Vietnam.
- Pho Thin is one of the famous pho brands in Vietnam, founded by Bui Chi Thin in 1954. Among many locations, there are two addresses that are favored by diners more than others which are No. 66, Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi and No. 13, Lo Duc Street, Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Price: 40,000 - 60,000 VND / bowl (~ 1.7 - 2.5 $).
- Although Bat Da Pho has just appeared recently, it has won the majority of customers' love by its unique enjoying method - stone bowl and professional service. Famous places to enjoy this dish are Court T1, CT5 Green Park, KDT Viet Hung, Long Bien, Hanoi or No. 724, Le Duc Tho Street, Ward 15, Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City. The price is 30,000 - 50,000 VND / person (~ 1.2 - 2.1 $).
- Ancient Pho Nam Dinh is one of the brands developed since 2016 that is trusted by many diners .Nam Dinh ancient pho impresses customers with its distinctive flavor, thin and aromatic noodle. If you want to enjoy the authentic ancient pho, you can go to Pho Xua Nam Dinh in Nam Dinh province, each serving here costs 30,000 - 60,000 VND (~ 1.2 - 2.5 $).

pho soup restaurant
Source: Duc Lien

2 - Enjoy Vietnamese Pho in abroad

Some Pho vendors that are famous in the world and beloved by international customers are:
- Pho Bang in the US. This Pho restaurant voted as the best place in New York by Thrillist.com because of the natural aroma, rich broth, soft Pho and soft beef. The price for a bowl of pho here is 7 - 10 $.
- Maison d'Asie Restaurant first appeared in the city of Geneva - Switzerland, here visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the Pho and listen to the great sound of traditional instruments. The price of a bowl of pho here is about 17 Swiss francs (~ $ 17.2).
- Pho An Restaurant in Bankstown, New South Wales, Australia. Each bowl of pho here not only retains the traditional flavor but also has many Vietnamese-style spices like basil, pepper, satay, etc.The price of a bowl of pho here is 19 AUD (~ $ 12.9).

V - Recipe for a homemade bowl of Pho

To get a delicious bowl of pho in the right way, visitors can follow the following recipe:
Prepare raw materials:
- Beef        
- Cow bone or pork bone        
- Spices: seasoning seeds, fish sauce, monosodium glutamate, pepper, chili sauce, ginger, anise, cinnamon, purple onion, ...        
- Herbs        
Processing method for a homemade Pho
- Step 1: Prepare raw materials to clean beef bones, pick up vegetables and roast aromatic cinnamon, chop onions, and stir-fry onions.       
- Step 2: Prepare the beef broth, onion and spices for about 3 hours, season to taste. Then picked out the onions and spices.        
- Step 3: Quickly cook noodles in boiling water and put in a bowl, thinly sliced ​​beef is put on top, then mix the cilantro and fresh chili. Then pour the hot and fragrant fatty broth.        

garnish for a bowl of pho noodle
Source: Halo Travel
When enjoying this dish, you can prepare a few more pieces of herbs and chili to taste more according to each person's taste. 
It can be seen that it is no coincidence that Vietnamese Pho rice noodles has become a Vietnamese favorite food in the world. Behind the dish is a whole story, the long process of formation, development, conservation. Hopefully, with the information that we have summarized, you have a better understanding of Vietnamese Pho and some of the culinary beauty in it. 
U want to share?
Hi, welcome to Vietnam! I am Bich - a passionate traveler. I do love exploring the amazing beauty of nature and experiencing the rich culture of my beloved country. Having the chance to share all my experience & travel information to you is so great!

— Ha Bich



Experience from travelers after a trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is a beautiful country which has a diverse nature, many beautiful landscapes stretching along the direction of the country, and is known to international tourists through the "heroic" stories of the two resistance wars against France and the America. However, that is not all about this country. It can not be missed without mentioning a long-standing culture that will make you impressed by a lot of interesting things. In addition, coming to Vietnam visitors will surely be mesmerized by the rich variety of insanely delicious foods with many globally famous dishes such as Pho soup or Vietnamese bread.  Let's see how impressed international tourists were when having a trip to Vietnam with many unforgettable memories.


Please enter email to get further
information for your travel plan


Best memories in Vietnam

Besides nature's beauty, historical relics,.., Vietnamese souvenirs especially handcrafted gifts with unique and catchy processes, also attract tourists a lot. This following article may be the best answer for the question “What souvenir to buy in Vietnam?”