What does pho mean? Pho is a Vietnamese dish that has gained popularity around the world for its rich and aromatic flavors. The term "pho" refers to a traditional Vietnamese soup made with a flavorful broth, rice noodles, herbs, and various cuts of meat, usually beef or chicken. The dish is known for its distinct blend of flavors, combining savory, sweet, and umami elements. The word "pho" itself originates from the French word "feu," meaning fire, which is a nod to the boiling process used to make the broth.
Pho is a beloved culinary creation that holds cultural significance in Vietnam, often enjoyed as a hearty breakfast or a comforting meal during any time of the day. Its history traces back to the early 20th century and has evolved over time to include different regional variations and adaptations. While the core components of pho remain consistent, the choice of meats, types of broth, and accompanying garnishes can vary.
Typically, pho is made by simmering bones, meat, and aromatic spices for several hours, resulting in a flavorful broth that serves as the foundation of the dish. The broth is then poured over rice noodles and thinly sliced raw meat, which cooks in the heat of the liquid. It's customary to add fresh herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil, and bean sprouts, as well as condiments like hoisin sauce and Sriracha to customize the flavors to one's preference.
In recent years, pho has transcended its cultural roots and become a popular international dish, appreciated for its harmonious blend of textures and tastes. Restaurants around the world serve their interpretations of pho, catering to diverse palates and dietary preferences. Whether enjoyed in Vietnam or abroad, pho continues to captivate people with its comforting and flavorful appeal.
In conclusion, pho is a Vietnamese culinary masterpiece that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people globally. Its name, derived from the French word for fire, encapsulates the essence of the dish's preparation process. With its aromatic broth, tender meat, rice noodles, and fresh herbs, pho offers a harmonious symphony of flavors that exemplifies Vietnamese cuisine's excellence. Whether you're seeking comfort or culinary adventure, a steaming bowl of pho is sure to delight.
What are some different types of pho?
There are many different types of pho depending on what type of meat you use and how you prepare your broth. Some people like their pho spicy so they will add hot chili peppers or spice up their soup by adding fish sauce (nuoc mam). You can also add vegetables such as bean sprouts, basil leaves and lime wedges into your bowl if desired. If you want something more traditional then there are many options available including rare steak (phở tái), brisket (phở bò), tripe, chick pho (phở gà). There are even vegetarian versions that include tofu instead of beef!
Whether you have a curious mind or you just genuinely want to know about pho I hope this page will answer all your questions about pho, pho recipes and more.
Phở is pronounced feu. It’s not fo, though some people may call it that. In fact, it’s pronounced feu because it sounds similar to the French word for fire, feu. Feu is actually a combination of two words: février, meaning February, and feu, meaning fire.
Check out this great video of how to pronounce Pho.
It’s hard to describe exactly what pho tastes like because everyone has their own personal preference when it comes to this Viet soup. Some people love it with lots of fresh cilantro, while others prefer theirs without any extra garnishing. It is a soup that is very homie, refreshing and easy to digest and sits really well in your body. I recommend you try and find out the best pho in your area.
When it comes to iconic Vietnamese dishes, few are as beloved and internationally recognized as "pho." This aromatic and flavorful beef noodle soup has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world. As we delve into the history of pho, we uncover a tale that intertwines tradition, culture, and a deep appreciation for culinary excellence.
Origins and Evolution
Pho's origins are deeply rooted in northern Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi. Its history dates back to the early 20th century, with some legends suggesting that it draws inspiration from both Chinese and French culinary influences due to Vietnam's historical interactions with these cultures. However, it was in the bustling streets of Hanoi that pho truly began to take shape.
Originally a simple street food, pho quickly gained popularity due to its hearty and comforting qualities. The broth was crafted by simmering bones, herbs, and spices for hours, creating a flavorful base that would become the hallmark of pho. Over time, the dish evolved, incorporating regional variations that showcase Vietnam's diverse culinary landscape.
Symbolism and Tradition
Beyond its delicious taste, pho holds cultural significance in Vietnam. It is often enjoyed as a communal meal, bringing families and friends together around a steaming bowl. The preparation of pho involves a laborious process, reflecting the Vietnamese value of patience and dedication. From selecting the best ingredients to simmering the broth to perfection, every step is taken with care.
In Vietnamese cuisine, balance is key, and pho exemplifies this philosophy. The harmony of flavors—salty, sweet, sour, and umami—creates a symphony that dances on the taste buds. The addition of fresh herbs, lime, bean sprouts, and chilies allows each individual to customize their bowl to their preferred taste.
As Vietnamese communities began to spread across the globe, so did the love for pho. From street vendors in Vietnam to high-end restaurants in cities worldwide, this humble dish transcended its origins to become a global phenomenon. Each region has added its own twist, whether through ingredient variations, serving styles, or even fusion interpretations.
The rise of pho's popularity has also been facilitated by its health-conscious qualities. The emphasis on fresh ingredients, lean meats, and aromatic herbs aligns with contemporary dietary preferences, making pho a sought-after choice for both traditionalists and health-conscious diners alike.
Preserving a Legacy
Today, pho continues to evolve while honoring its roots. The history of this delectable beef noodle soup serves as a reminder of the cultural connections that food can forge. It encapsulates the story of Vietnam's resilience, adaptation, and commitment to culinary excellence.
So, whether you're enjoying a steaming bowl of pho on a street corner in Hanoi or at a modern eatery in a bustling city, remember that each spoonful carries with it a piece of history—a reminder of the rich tapestry that is Vietnamese cuisine.
Pho, the cherished Vietnamese beef noodle soup, is more than just a dish; it's a culinary journey through Vietnam's history and culture. From its origins on the streets of Hanoi to its global popularity, pho's story is one of tradition, symbolism, and the artistry of flavors. As we savor each spoonful, we're not just tasting a delicious meal, but also honoring the legacy of a nation's culinary heritage.
What are the pho ingredients, you may ask? Well, depending on who you ask will give you various answers. I have combed the internet and found many answers, but we will use the Pho Redbo approach to simplify. The following is the list of ingredients that we use at Pho Redbo.
Beef Stock: The main ingredient in our soup (beef stock) is our Wagyu knuckle bones. The amount of stock required depends on how much depth and flavor you want and how much time you want it to take to cook. The more depth your broth is, the more time you will need to cook the bones.
What kind of bone do we use to make our beef stock? We use knuckle bone and simmer it for over 12 hours to break down all the pores of the bones releasing all the nutrients and juice from the bones. This gives our broth a really big boost and when slurping our pho, you will taste the depth and umami taste in it.
Preparation before cooking. We wash our bones and try to get rid of any residues from the processing plant. This will ensure our broth is clean and nice in color. We also check the bone for quality prior to putting them in our pot to cook it. This broth is crucial to our pho so we take this step really seriously.
The final product that go into your bowl of pho is a many step process. We combine the broth broth to the meat broth in order to create an interesting bowl of pho. But before we go there we will go through additional steps.
After we have simmered our broth from 10 - 12 hours, we discard the bones but not after we strain out all the juice from the bones using a perforated tray. We put it back into our bone broth.
We then braised or roast the onion and gingers before put into the bone broth to cook for 2.5 - 3 hours. During this time we also include our "spices", more in "SPICE" section of this article, in our broth which cooks in our bone broth for 1.5 - 2 hours.
After the cooking time, we remove the ginger onion and spices. We strained them in a strainer.
How to cook the five spices in the Pho beef stock?
We are cooking the spices most effectively and efficiently (scorching them on a pan or roasting them on a pan). The Cinnamon needs to be broken down into small pieces for best extraction. Cook them for 1.5 - 2 hours, depending on your pot size.
WE remove the spice with a strainer and making sure that all the liquid falls back into the broth before trashing the spices.
If you are cooking at home, please don't over cook the spice, if you do two things will happens: 1) your broth will be darkened and 2) your broth will be bitter.
Bean sprout is a micro vegetable that comes from a bean (mung bean, black bean, green bean) and it only sprouting before harvest. The following bean sprout are use in Pho.
1. Mung Bean - Mung bean sprouts because they taste better and look nicer. We get our bean sprout from a company call Cosmo. They make the best bean sprout. They are fresh, clean looking at the roots and they don't go bad easy. I think the shelf life is 3 days maximum. I would be wary once it's past 3 days.
2. Green Bean - green bean sprouts can also be use for pho. I think we use this type of sprout back in the country. I don't have anything against it. If you are going to use them, just make sure the roots looks nice so your bowl of pho is good looking.
You can grow your own bean sprouts. I think it's really easy and fun to do. Here a link to an article on how you can grow your own bean sprouts by Kris Bordessa. She is an author and certified Master Food Preserver, hobby farmer, gardener, chicken wrangler, and eternal experimenter.
Also, remember that while these ingredients do not contain meat, they still count towards making this dish vegan friendly! So if you wish, then, by all means, include those as well 🙂 . Lastly, if there are any leftover herbs from chopping them up before adding them into yo Pho, then feel free to toss those veggies into a separate bowl once they have cooled down completely! That way, everything will stay nice and fresh throughout dinner time 😉
There are a few different variation of noodles for Pho. We use only use two types of noodles:
1. Skinny (Regular noodles)
2. Wide (Fresh noodles)
The skinny noodles are well known and most likely everyone who had pho had the skinny noodles.
The fresh noodles are wider and easy to break apart. We called them fresh noodles because they are made fresh (same day as we order) and get deliver to our establishment. It's a hint sweeter but the down side to it is it breaks easy if soak in the broth for too long.
If you bring a long lost friend and you are going to have long conversation, I recommend the skinny noodles. If you just there to enjoy pho and talk less, definitely try out the fresh noodles / wide noodles. It will change your perspective about Pho.
Where to buy Noodles?
How to cook the noodles?
Types of Meats:
There are many meat options that you can use as toppings for Pho. We cook our wagyu briskets for about 1 hours prior to serving. We do a taste test every batch to ensure that the meat are up to standard.
Where to buy?
How to cook?
If you follow me until now, top of the hat to ya! The material I'm presenting not necessary an easy to follow. But step 1 - 5 is to prepare for this final step before the broth becomes Pho broth.
We pour the meat broth into the bone broth to create a one of a kind broth. We bring in to small boil and then season to taste. We measure our salt. We do not use MSG.
Once the broth is boil then we use a stainless steel strainer and remove any debris resulting from cooking. The we filter the broth with a fabric filter before pouring them into container and bring them into the cooler to reduce the heat.
And that my friend, that is the whole process of our Pho Redbo recipe and how we cook our broth.
There are so many Pho restaurants so it's hard to pick out one that is good. Reviews are often not reflective of the actual food tasting and experience. This guide will serves as a road map to find a good place to eat pho. Be sure to check the Best Pho in California by Pho Blogger guide to the best Pho restaurant around your area.
Look For A Place That Has A Good Reputation.
You should also consider where you’re going to eat your pho. If you’re looking for a place that serves authentic pho, then you need to find a restaurant that has been serving customers for a while. This will ensure that the quality of the food is consistent and that you’ll receive the same deliciousness every time you visit.
Ask Around For Recommendations.
Another thing to keep in mind is that there are different kinds of pho restaurants. There are those that serve traditional Vietnamese dishes, as well as those that specialize in other Asian cuisines. It’s important to make sure that you choose a restaurant that specializes in pho because they will offer more options than a generic pho restaurant.
Check Out Yelp Reviews.
If you’re looking for a place to eat pho near me, then you should check out Yelp reviews first. This is one of the easiest ways to find a good pho restaurant. You can also use Google Maps to search for local businesses.
Go Online And Search For "Pho" + City Name.
Once you've found a few places to try, take note of the location, menu items, and prices. Then, make sure to ask questions before ordering. Ask how much rice noodles are used per serving, whether there's any MSG added, and whether the broth is made fresh daily.
Call Or Visit The Business Yourself.
If you're not able to visit the restaurant yourself, call them up and ask them these questions. You'll find out more about the quality of service, food, and atmosphere.