What is Pho? back to Homepage

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup; usually served with beef or chicken broth.  It is also known as Beef Pho or Chicken Pho. The soup includes noodles made from the finest rice flour (vermicelli) and is served with herbs and species, including Asian basilsaw tooth herb (rice paddy herb), cilantro, thinly sliced green and white onionslime juice, coriander, fresh chili, and bean sprouts . Other spices include fish sauce, chili sauce and hoisin sauce, which can be added to taste as accompaniments by the person who is dining.

If a cup of tea needs scent, a bowl of Pho needs ingredients with all their scents. The good bowl of Pho first requires the flavor of soup, which comes from cooking the ox-bones (beef bones) along with cardamom, grilled or roasted Ginger, Onion, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Coriander and Fennel seeds, and Cloves. All mixed together and slow cooked (by simmering) up to 10 hours. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Next, noodle must be softs and not pasty. Brown beef is dipped into hot soup to keep its rich flavor. The color also plays an important role in increasing the value bowl of Pho. To give a delicious bowl of Pho, the chefs not only have a high quality workmanship, a thorough grasp of principles and secrets but also need to cook with loves and passions for Pho.

Beef Pho: Beef Pho is served in a bowl with white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket), tendon, tripe, or meatball in southern Vietnam.

Chicken Pho: Chicken Pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using only chicken bones and meat.

History of Pho: Like many famous dish in the world, Pho first originated in the early 20th century (1908 – 1930) in Nam Dinh Province, North of Vietnam. From 1930 to 1954, Pho developed and prosperous. From 1954 to 2010, there were Pho of North and Pho of South that are different about the way of cooking and eating. Entering the 21st century, Pho is even more famous.  Pho appears in many countries all over the world, especially in the United States, Canada, France, Australia, Germany, Koreas, China, and Malaysia just to name a few.

Famousness of Pho: Pho is not only Vietnam’s national dish but it can be considered as a “cuisine ambassador” which helps people all over the world know more about Vietnam cuisine and culture. Pho is listed at number 28 on “World’s 50 most delicious foods” compiled by CNN.  CNN quotes that “Pho is greater than the sum its parts – fragrant, tasty and balanced.”  Spring roll or “Goi Cuon” (shrimp, grill beef or pork) is another national dish of Vietnam, which also ranks at the 30th position.

Pho is appetizing, nourishing and convenient to all palates. It is not only is beloved by the Vietnamese people but also loved by foreigners.  For example, the former president of the United States, Bill Clinton and his family chose Pho for their meals in a visit to Vietnam in 2000.  Reminiscing about his visit to Vietnam, the president of the Peace Boat Movement, Kiyomi Tsujimoto, exclaimed “I pine for a snack of Pho.”  The famous South Korean singer, Bi (Rain) said, “I really like Pho of Vietnam. The first thing I do when I come to Vietnam is to eat a bowl of Pho.” As you can see, nobody can deny the deliciousness of Pho and can turn away before a bowl of Vietnamese Pho.

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