Vietnamese Beef Pho


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Welcome to the captivating world of Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho, a dish that embodies the essence of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. This heartwarming soup is renowned for its delicate balance of aromatic herbs, tender beef, and flavorful broth. As you delve into the world of pho, you’ll be transported to the bustling streets of Hanoi, where the captivating aroma of simmering spices fills the air. Join us on this culinary journey as we explore the art of creating authentic Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho, a dish that will warm your soul and tantalize your taste buds.

Vietnamese Beef Pho, often simply referred to as “Pho,” is a beloved and iconic dish from Vietnam. Its origins can be traced back to the early 20th century when Vietnam was under French colonial rule. The dish is believed to have been influenced by French pot-au-feu and Chinese noodle soups but has since evolved into a uniquely Vietnamese culinary treasure.

The word “Pho” actually refers to the rice noodles used in the dish, which are made from rice flour and water. What makes Vietnamese Beef Pho so special is the rich, aromatic broth that’s infused with spices like star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. It’s traditionally served with thinly sliced beef, fresh herbs like basil and cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and hoisin and Sriracha sauces for customization.

Pho is not just a dish; it’s a cultural experience. In Vietnam, it’s enjoyed at all times of the day, from breakfast to dinner, and it’s often a communal meal where friends and family gather to savor the flavors and share stories.

Vietnamese Beef Pho

Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho, known as Phở Bắc, is a traditional Vietnamese soup that originated in the Northern region of the country. It is characterized by its clear, light broth, which is made by simmering beef bones and spices for hours. The result is a flavorful and aromatic broth that is the heart of this beloved dish. The soup is then served with thin slices of beef, rice noodles, and an assortment of fresh herbs and condiments, allowing each diner to customize their bowl to their liking. Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho is a complete sensory experience, bringing together the umami of the broth, the tender texture of the beef, and the refreshing herbal notes of the fresh garnishes.

Tools and Equipment

Prep Time 30 mins Cook Time 4 hrs Total Time 4 hrs 30 mins Difficulty: Advanced Servings: 8 Calories: 537.25 Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



Beef and Noodles:


Step-by-Step Instructions

Prepare the Beef Bones:

  1. Place the beef bones in a large stockpot or soup pot.

  2. Fill the pot with water, enough to cover the bones, and bring it to a boil.

  3. Boil the bones for 2-3 minutes, then drain the water. This step helps to remove impurities and ensures a clear broth.

Toast the Spices:

  1. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast the star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, black cardamom (if using), coriander seeds, and fennel seeds until fragrant.

  2. This step enhances the spices' flavors and adds depth to the broth.

Simmer the Broth:

  1. Return the beef bones to the pot and add the toasted spices, halved onion, and halved ginger.

  2. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the bones and spices.

  3. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer gently for 4-5 hours.

  4. Periodically skim off any impurities that rise to the surface.

Season the Broth:

  1. Add the rock sugar or granulated sugar and fish sauce to the broth, adjusting the amounts to your taste preference.

  2. Season the broth with salt as needed.

Prepare the Noodles:

  1. While the broth is simmering, soak the dried rice noodles in hot water according to the package instructions.

  2. Drain the noodles when they are softened but still slightly firm.

  3. Set aside until ready to serve.

Prepare the Garnishes:

  1. Wash and prepare the fresh herbs and bean sprouts.

  2. Slice the limes into wedges.

  3. Thinly slice the chili peppers, if using.

Cook the Beef:

  1. Thinly slice the beef sirloin or eye of round against the grain.

  2. You can cook the beef by either adding the slices directly to the hot broth to cook briefly or by placing them on top of the noodles and letting the hot broth cook them as you assemble the bowls.

Assemble the Bowls:

  1. Divide the soaked rice noodles among the soup bowls.

  2. Add the cooked beef slices on top of the noodles.

Ladle the Broth:

  1. Carefully ladle the hot broth over the noodles and beef, filling each bowl to the top.

Add Garnishes:

  1. Add a generous handful of fresh herbs and bean sprouts on top of the broth.

  2. Serve the lime wedges, sliced chili peppers, hoisin sauce, and Sriracha sauce on the side.

Customize Your Pho:

  1. Each diner can customize their pho by adding hoisin sauce, Sriracha sauce, and extra herbs to their liking.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories 537.25kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 26.54g41%
Saturated Fat 10.66g54%
Cholesterol 140.05mg47%
Sodium 942.28mg40%
Potassium 579.71mg17%
Total Carbohydrate 29.33g10%
Dietary Fiber 2.72g11%
Sugars 2.29g
Protein 43.48g87%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Please note that the nutritional values provided are approximate and may vary depending on the specific ingredients and portion sizes used. It's always best to double-check with your specific ingredients and measurements for accurate nutritional information.


Tips and Variations:
  • For a quicker version of this recipe, you can use store-bought beef broth or bouillon cubes instead of making the broth from scratch.
  • If you prefer a stronger beef flavor in the broth, you can roast the beef bones in the oven before simmering them with the spices and aromatics.
  • Traditional pho uses beef tripe, tendon, or other cuts in addition to sliced beef. Feel free to experiment with different beef cuts to suit your taste.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free fish sauce and rice noodles.
  • For a vegetarian or vegan version, you can use vegetable broth or mushroom broth and substitute the beef with tofu or mushrooms.
Serving Suggestions:
  • Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho is traditionally served as a main course for lunch or dinner.
  • Enjoy it with a side of Vietnamese pickled vegetables or a fresh green salad for a well-rounded meal.
Allergen Information:

Here's some allergen information for Vietnamese Beef Pho:

  • Gluten: Traditionally, Pho noodles are made from rice flour and are gluten-free. However, be cautious if dining out, as some restaurants may use wheat-based noodles. When making Pho at home, ensure you choose rice noodles labeled as gluten-free if needed.

  • Soy: Soy sauce or soybean-based condiments are sometimes used in Pho recipes. If you have soy allergies, look for soy-free alternatives or omit them from the recipe.

Wine or Drink Pairing:

When enjoying Vietnamese Beef Pho, consider these beverage pairings:

  • Tea: Green tea or jasmine tea is a traditional choice that complements the subtle flavors of Pho.

  • Beer: A light lager or pilsner can be a refreshing choice to balance the richness of the broth.

  • Iced Coffee: Vietnamese iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk is a delightful and popular pairing.

Storage and Leftovers:

Here's how to store Vietnamese Beef Pho and any leftovers:

  • Broth: If you have leftover broth, allow it to cool to room temperature, then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • Noodles and Meat: If you have leftover cooked noodles and meat, store them separately from the broth. Keep them in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

  • Vegetables and Herbs: Fresh herbs and bean sprouts should be stored in the refrigerator and used within a few days. Lime wedges can be wrapped and refrigerated for a short time.

  • Reheating: To reheat Pho, gently warm the broth on the stove over low heat. Cook the noodles and meat in hot water separately, and assemble the soup just before serving to maintain the best texture and flavor.

Keywords: Northern Vietnamese Beef Pho, Phở Bắc, Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, Hanoi Beef Pho, Authentic Pho Recipe.

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