Your Comprehensive Guide to Pho

With the rising popularity of pho in recent years, it has made a name for itself worldwide as a succulent noodle soup dish. Yet, what is it about pho that has made it practically universally loved? Read on to better understand this flavourful noodle soup dish and see why everyone is raving about it!

What is Pho?

So, what makes up pho? You can expect your typical pho dish to consist of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and some form of meat. Originating from Vietnam, its popularity stems from how easily the dish is made with fresh ingredients that give its flavourful taste. Interestingly enough, for noodle soup, pho is popular as street food since it can be served year-round, is easy to make and eat on the spot, and of course – its delicious taste! It comes as no surprise that pho is officially Vietnam’s national dish!

Yet, before you start rushing to your local Vietnamese restaurant for this delicious dish, you want to ensure you’re pronouncing it right when you’re ordering it for the first time. When you’re saying pho, you want to be saying ‘fuh,’ not like you’re saying ‘foe.’

Styles of Pho

The beauty behind pho is that it isn’t your typical noodle soup dish. It packs a lot of flavour with its ingredients, but it can also be served in various ways. When it comes to pho, there are mainly two styles: Northern (pho bac) and Southern (pho nam). How these styles came to fruition was influenced by various influences.

Northern Pho is considered the origin of classic pho since it started the foundation for it through its simplicity. It mainly had wide, flat noodles in a savoury broth filled with scallions, onions, and slices of beef. Yet, the Northern dish would soon build upon itself by birthing Southern-style Pho in 1954 when Vietnam was partitioned into two states. When Northerners fled to avoid Communist rule and moved to the South, they began to incorporate that region’s food. These inclusions were bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, sawtooth herb, lime, and hoisin. In addition, noodles had become thinner, and the broth became sweeter instead.

You can thank the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 for bringing Pho beyond Vietnam’s borders and into various other countries. What makes pho so popular is how versatile of a dish it is. You can play around with ingredients to enhance flavours and bring out unique tastes that manage to not deviate from what makes pho what it is. For example, there are pho dishes that include Maine lobster since Las Vegas has access to an ingredient like that. Pho is dynamic in how impressionable it is to a region’s influence and being able to incorporate its ingredients into it easily.


How to Enjoy Pho

If you’re new to trying out pho or a foodie wanting to maximize the dish’s flavour, check below how you can best enjoy this popular Vietnamese dish and what makes a good bowl of pho!

Quality of Broth

Consider pho’s broth to be the backbone ingredient. Just like how it’s known that rice is an integral component of sushi, the same can be said for broth when it comes to pho. How can you tell if a broth is good? Ensure it looks crystal clear while still being able to pack a lot of flavours.

Add Condiments Sparingly

With pho, you are given garnishes on the side like culantro (not to be mistaken for cilantro!), basil, sprouts, or either lemons or limes. When adding garnishes, rip up and sprinkle them into your photo instead of submerging them entirely into the soup. You want to use less of them and should only accent the dish. A good bowl of pho will only need very little condiments since the broth’s flavour should be enough.

Mindful of Warmth

Like any form of soup, it’s best served hot. Pho is a popular street food because it’s meant to be eaten hot and ready. The hot broth helps separate the rice noodles and cooks and warms the meat inside. Having cold pho isn’t recommended since its fatty components can result in a greasy texture.

Pho has become so popular nowadays since it’s such an adaptable dish that various people worldwide can enjoy. This noodle soup goes above and beyond with flavour that it’s no surprise it’s so universally loved. Next time you want a nice noodle soup to warm up, get some pho and allow your tastebuds to relish in it!