Discover the delicious Pho Vietnam

There’re noodle soups, and then there’s Pho, the single most vibrant noodle soup Vietnam has to offer. If you’ve never tried Pho before, let us tell you all about it – you never knew soups could be so awesome!

What is Pho Vietnam, anyway?

The most important ingredient in Pho is the broth. The thick, flavourful, homemade broth elevates the noodle soup to perfection. Then you have rice noodles, called ‘Banh pho’ in Vietnamese. You’ll also find tender slices of beef in a bowl of Pho, although chicken pho exists as well.

Finally, there’s the fresh herbs and seasonings. Apparently simple, pho is incredibly balanced and sophisticated – there’s a reason pho is Vietnam’s national dish!

No one knows precisely when pho came to be, but similar noodle dishes have been popular in the region for centuries. What we do know is that the first bowls of pho where served by street vendors across Vietnam, and this has led to a wide variety of local variations. Pho from Hanoi tastes different from the one you’ll find in the south, and that’s the beauty of it!

Read on and learn all there is to know about Pho and find an authentic beef pho recipe to make your own pot of pho at home.

Authentic Hanoi Pho Recipe 

Serves: 8

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 4 hours


  • 3 lb. beef brisket
  • 2 lb. beef marrow bones
  • 2 lb. rice noodles
  • 1 unpeeled onion
  • 3 large unpeeled red shallots
  • 4 oz unpeeled gingers
  • Fish sauce to taste
  • Sugar, if desired
  • 2 star anises
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 – 3 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 4 cilantro sprigs, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • Black/white pepper to taste (optional)
  • 1 lime in wedges
  • Salt
  • Vinegar

Ingredients for Pho Vietnamspices for Vietnam noodle soup

Preparing the broth

  1. Soak beef marrow bones in water with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar for at least 2 hours then rinse the bones.
  2. Boil the bones for 10 minutes with 1 tablespoon of salt and 5 pieces of fresh ginger. Rinse the marrow bones again.
  3. Boil the beef brisket with some sliced fresh gingers, and one shallot for 5 minutes. Rinse the boneless beef brisket.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium heat and grill the unpeeled onion, shallots, black cardamom and ginger until blackened. Peel the blackened skins and chop the aromatics.

*Note: Rinse the bones and brisket will help clear the broth.  

broth for Pho Hanoiprepare the broth for beef noodle soup

Cooking the broth

  1. Cook the marrow bones and the beef brisket with 15 cups of water. Add fish sauce, salt, sugar, star anise, cinnamon and cloves, cooked onion, shallots, and ginger.
  2. Cook for 1 hour, transfer the beef brisket to a bowl, set it aside to cool, and slice very thin across the grain.
  3. Reduce the flame to low and simmer the broth for 3 more hours.
  4. Strain the spices out of the broth.
  5. Keep the broth hot until the Pho is ready to serve.

*Note 1: you can use the pressure cooker to reduce the time to cook the broth

*Note 2: If you have Beef Flavor Soup Seasoning, you don’t need to use star anise, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, black cardamom and coriander seeds.

Softening the noodles

In hot water, soak the noodles for few minutes, drain them and serve them in your bowls.

Serving the PhoRice noodles for Pho Vietnam

Serving the Pho

Garnish a few slices of brisket, scallions, cilantro, red peppers in each bowl and pour hot broth over the stock. Season with black pepper to taste and serve with a lime wedge.

Experience Authentic Pho in Hanoi

If you want to experience the original pho, you’ll have to travel to Vietnam. And be prepared to be swooned off your feet because the country’s verdant vegetation, warm weather, delicious food, and friendly people guarantee you’ll have one of the best trips of your life!

For a friendly, knowledgeable, and local perspective, please visit us at and let us help you organize a street food tour, cooking classes with local cooks, and much more.