The History and Tradition Behind Vietnamese Pho

For centuries, Vietnamese Pho has been a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. It’s a dish that is loved by people of all ages and backgrounds. Pho is a type of noodle soup that is traditionally served as a breakfast dish and is made with rice noodles in a flavorful beef or chicken broth. It usually contains an array of herbs and spices, thin slices of beef, and added vegetables for flavor and texture.

Vietnamese Pho is a complex dish that dates back to the mid-1800s. It is believed that the dish was created by Vietnamese refugees who fled after the French colonization of Vietnam in 1887. As they moved, they brought their traditional foods with them and adapted the recipes to new ingredients, like beef stock, that weren’t available in their homeland. Over time, this combination of flavors and ingredients became what we know today as Vietnamese Pho.

Vietnamese Pho has become a beloved part of Vietnamese culture, served in restaurants, street stands, and home kitchens around the country. Each region of Vietnam has its own take on the traditional recipe, with some adding more spices, sweetness, or broth.

The preparation of a pot of pho is often considered an art. There are many steps and techniques that contribute to this complex dish. Starting with the fresh ingredients, cooking the broth is key to making a delicious Pho. Traditionally, meat and bones are placed in a pot and simmered for several hours until the flavors are released and a therapeutic broth is created. After the broth is finished, it is then served over fresh rice noodles and topped with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, thinnly sliced beef and peppers, lime wedges, fish sauce, and any other desired topping.

Vietnamese Pho Recipe


– 1 lb beef chuck roast
– 4 quarts beef broth
– 1 onion, roughly chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
– 2-inch piece of ginger, sliced
– 2 star anise
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 teaspoon cumin
– 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
– 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
– 2 tablespoons fish sauce
– 8 ounces rice noodles
– Assorted toppings, such as green onions, bean sprouts, mint leaves, Thai basil, cilantro, lime wedges, and jalapeño


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Place the roast in a roasting dish, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 2 hours, flipping halfway through.

3. When the roast is finished, let it cool and shred the meat. Set aside.

4. In a large pot, add the beef broth, onion, garlic, ginger, star anise, cinnamon stick, cumin, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil.

5. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

6. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids.

7. Put the broth back in the pot and bring to a simmer.

8. Put the noodles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Let sit for a few minutes until the noodles are cooked through. Drain the noodles and divide them between four bowls.

9. Ladle the hot broth over the noodles, followed by the beef.

10. Top with desired toppings and serve immediately. Enjoy!