Pho bo

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PHO [fɜːr, fʌ, foʊ], (Vietnamese: PHỞ) is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, rice noodles (called BANH PHO), a few herbs (culantro, vietnamese basil,…), and meat, primarily made with either beef ( called PHO BO) or chicken (called PHO GA) and FISH (called PHO CA) as well.

PHO originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, southeast of Hanoi in Nam Định Province, then a substantial textile market. The traditional home of pho is reputed to be the villages of Vân Cù and Dao Cù (or Giao Cù) in Đông Xuân commune, Nam Trực District, Nam Định Province. According to villagers, pho was eaten in Vân Cù long before the French colonial period when it was popularized.

Although it is possible that dishes similar to pho existed in Nam Định prior, cultural historian and researcher Trịnh Quang Dũng believes that the popularization and origins of the modern pho stemmed from the intersection of several historical and cultural factors in the early 20th century. These includes the higher availability of beef due to French demand, which in turn produced beef bones that were purchased by Chinese workers to make into a dish similar to pho called ngưu nhục phấn. The demand for this dish was initially the greatest with workers sourced from the provinces of Yunnan and Guangdong, who found affinity to the dish due to its similarities to that of their homeland, which eventually popularized and familiarized this dish with the general population.

Pho was originally sold at dawn and dusk by roaming street vendors, who shouldered mobile kitchens on carrying poles (gánh phở). From the pole hung two wooden cabinets, one housing a cauldron over a wood fire, the other storing noodles, spices, cookware, and space to prepare a bowl of pho. Pho vendors kept their heads warm with distinctive, disheveled felt hats called mũ phở.

Now, PHO is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world.


  • 6 kg Beef bones (marrow and knuckle)
  • 2 large onion, peeled, cut halved
  • 100gr ginger knobs cut half
  • 4 star anise
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 5 Black cardamom fruits (vietnamese: Thảo quả)
  • 1 tsp white peppercorn
  • 10 ltr water
  • Salt, Rock sugar to taste

For serving:

  • 150 gr of raw Beef tenderloin, thinly sliced or any part of cooked beef slices or both
  • a little of Onion, thinly sliced
  • Scallion, slice and 2 white part scallion for garnishing (per serve)
  • Bean sprouts (50gr per serve)
  • 150 gr of Flat rice noodle (Called BANH PHO)

For condiments:

  • lime wedges
  • Vietnamese basil / Thai basil
  • Culantro (Saw leaf)
  • Rice paddy herb or Rau om (optional)
  • Hot chile, sliced
  • Vietnamese fermented soybean paste or Substitute: hoisin sauce
  • Chili sauce or Sriracha (Brand name of hot chile sauce)
  • Fresh peppercorn, cracked from miller


  1. Wash the bones: Put the bones in stock pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil. Drain out, wash the bones with cold water. Throw out liquid, put the bones back to stock pot, put 10 ltrs of water. Bring to a boil, turn down heat to simmerring.
  2. Meanwhile, toast onion halves, ginger halves, and spices on salamander (or put in a pan and grill) untill brown in color.
  3. Put toasted ingredients into stock pot, simmerring about 4 hrs to 6 hrs to get perfect broth. Remember skim off foam built up (scum) on surface occasionally.
  4. Strain the broth, discard the solid. Cool down the broth rapidly, and keep in fridge for further using. Or using straight when Broth ‘s still very hot.


  1. Blanch the noodle in hot water, then transfer to serving bowl.
  2. Assemble by bean sprouts, sliced beef, sliced onion, scallion.
  3. Pour boiling broth (very hot) just cover and served with PHO’s condiments.
  4. Garnishing: 2 blanched white part scallion, sliced scallion, sliced chili, fresh peppercorn from miller, and serve.


Broth should be clear and light color. If you use cooked beef, beef shank is the best. When the meat is cooked, remove and soak in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes to prevent the beef from drying up or turning dark. Beef stock cube can be used but not encourage.

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