Here's the lowdown on everyone's favourite Vietnamese noodle soup, pho
It all starts with a good broth, with fresh herbs and aromatic ingredients coming together to make a delicious, nutritious bowl of goodness.
- September 2019
Meet pho, the comforting, flavour-packed noodle soup topped with a combo of aromatic herbs and spices that is sure to beat the winter blues.
So how do you say it?
It may just be three little letters but it’s tricky to pronounce. It doesn’t rhyme with no, go or foe. Instead, say pho like a local – “fuh”.
What is it?
A steamy, aromatic bowl of hot meat broth spiced with ginger, star anise, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon sticks. It’s packed with rice noodles, slivers of meat or sometimes meat or fish balls and often garnished with bean sprouts, coriander, chopped chilli, lime and fish sauce.
Where does it come from?
Many believe pho is the Vietnamese version of the French beef stew called pot au feu, which was introduced to northern Vietnam during the French colonial rule of the late 1800s.
How old is it?
It’s a relatively young Vietnamese dish that made its grand debut in the early 1900s.
When is pho eaten?
For years, the Vietnamese have slurped down pho for breakfast but it’s now more common to see this heartwarming bowl being served for lunch and dinner.
How do you eat it?
With chopsticks and a spoon. First, take a sip of the broth with the spoon, then pinch up the noodles using the chopsticks and enjoy.
Are there different types?
Ask for either pho or pho bo and you’ll get the beef version, with very thin strips of raw meat that cook in the heat of the soup. Order pho ga and you’ll get hot broth with cooked chicken.
What’s the secret to good pho?
Patience and time. Vietnamese chef Le Huu Nghia of Lang Viet Restaurant at The Anam, a resort on the Cam Ranh peninsula, says he simmers roasted bones for hours on the stove until the marrow disintegrates into the broth. “This gives it that terrific depth of flavour,” he says.