Recipe: The best Vietnamese Pho Bo soup

Photo: envato

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Vietnam, a mix of cultures and spices. Their cuisine, dominated by rice, fish, fish sauce, a large amount of vegetables and herbs, enchants everyone. One of these dishes is soup. Have you heard of Pho Bo soup?

Pho is one of the most popular street foods in Vietnam. It is similar to beef soup, but it differs from it mainly in terms of the amount of spices, the intensity of the taste, and the fact that rice noodles are boiled in it and raw beef is added, which is slightly scalded by the boiling soup only when it is on the plate.

Pho Bo Beef Soup is a classic version of this dish; and there is also Pho soup with chicken (Fo Ga) and fish (Fo Ka).

There are two types of soup. The first where the meat is cooked and the second where it is raw. Raw meat is served by cutting it into very thin slices and pouring boiling broth over them.

Here is a recipe for the classic Vietnamese Pho Bo soup with beef, the main ingredients of which are broth, noodles and beef.

Prepare each ingredient separately and combine them into one dish just before serving.

The best Pho soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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  • 600-800 g of beef thigh
  • 500 g of bone
  • salt
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • fish sauce
  • 5 l of water (2 l for cooking the bones and 3 l for the soup)
  • Spices for soup
  • 1 medium onion
  • 5 pieces of star anise
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 sticks of cinnamon
  • 3 pieces of cardamom
  • 100 g of ginger
  • PHO noodles
  • 500 gr rice noodles
  • 1.5 liters of water for cooking noodles;
  • half an onion
  • green
  • mint
  • coriander
  • basil
  • Accessories
  • red chili
  • black pepper
  • fish or lychee sauce


  1. Roast the ginger and onion in a piece on the grill or in the oven, you don't need to peel them. After about half an hour or until they become darker in color, peel them and cut them into pieces.
  2. During this time, wash the bones under running water and place them in a large pot, cover with 2 liters of water and wait for them to boil for 10 minutes. Then pour off the water. This way you get a pure soup base.
  3. Add the meat and the rest of the water and the rest of the ingredients for the base. Salt and add sugar. Reduce the heat and cook slowly for 40 minutes.
  4. Fry the spices (cloves, anise, cardamom, cinnamon) in a pan for a few minutes until fragrant. Transfer the fried spices to cheesecloth, tie and immerse in the soup.
  5. Cook until the meat is tender but not falling apart. You will be cutting it into thin steaks later, so it needs to be firm enough for that. Once it's cooked, take it out of the soup and put it in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain it and put it in the fridge. This will prevent it from turning black.
  6. Continue cooking the soup on low heat for at least another 3 hours. Add salt, sugar and fish sauce as needed. When the soup base is ready, you can prepare the noodles according to the instructions on the package.
  7. Put a pot with 1.5 liters of water on the fire. When it boils, you put the noodles in the water and cook them for 2-3 minutes until they are completely cooked.
  8. Prepare the vegetables. Cut the onion into thin slices and soak it in water for at least 15 minutes.
  9. Arrange the noodles on the bottom of the plate. Add sliced onion. Cut the cooked meat into 3-4 mm thick strips and place them on one side of the plate and on the other the spring onions, which you cut into rings (both the green and white parts).
  10. You can also decorate with sprouts, fresh coriander, basil, mint, lime and chili if desired.

How to make classic Pho Bo soup with raw meat

The preparation process itself is the same as described above, except that you do not add beef, but only cook the bones. After the first boil, wash the bones once again under running water, put them in a pot and cover them with 3 liters of water. Add salt, sugar and fish sauce to taste. Put on the fire, let it boil, remove the resulting foam. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least another 5 hours.

While the soup and spices are boiling, cook the noodles.

Before pouring the soup, cut the raw beef into very thin layers. To make the meat as thin as possible, it is better to freeze it beforehand.

Arrange the sliced meat on a plate and pour boiling soup over everything.

You can eat the soup with chopsticks or a spoon.

Photo: envato

Little tricks:

... so that the soup is not too greasy, you can cook it in advance, cool it and remove the upper layer of fat, and boil it again before serving;
… before cutting the celery, you can mash it to release as much essential oil and juice as possible;
... you can add soy sauce instead of salt.

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