Beef Pho Vietnamese Soup (Pho Bo)

It was a handful of years ago that I experienced my first bowl of pho. I was with a couple other people and one of them was craving Vietnamese food. I love Thai, Chinese and Japanese so I was game. It was winter and I was desiring something that would warm my bones. Entering into the restaurant I noticed that almost every table was full and more than half had ordered the soup. I sat down and looked that the menu only to decide that I also was going to try the soup. The bowl that came was enormous. I have never seen an individual bowl of soup that large. I finished it and had discovered a new love. Pho and I were going to be friends forever!

The word for soup in Vietnamese is pho and there are many different varieties but the more popular was pho bo. It is a beef soup that is served with thinly sliced pieces of beef. Most restaurants serve it with the beef actually rare. The soup is very hot so once the rare meat is stirred in it cooks the beef. There are many garnishes that come alongside the pho. Along with the beef and rice noodles are bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro and lime wedges.

Many people also squirt a little sriracha  or hoisin sauce in their pho. Have I ever shared with you my love of sriracha sauce? It is an incredible Asian chili and garlic sauce. It has a great level of heat that I use all the time with Asian cooking. Janna and the kids prefer to add hoisin sauce to the pho. Some people refer to it as Asian BBQ sauce. Hoisin sweetens the pho nicely.

Pho is an excellent choice of soup during these winter months. It is also a great soup to have if you or someone in your family has a cold.

Pho Bo is a beef broth and there are many cuts of meat (short ribs, beef neck and even ox tail) you could use to build the broth. Along with the meat you could add garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, star anise and black peppercorn to the broth as it boils away and builds its flavour.

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Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
2 hr 30 mins
Total Time
2 hr 50 mins
 
Servings: 6 -8
Author: Steve Cylka
Ingredients
  • 6 quarts water (24 cups)
  • 4 pounds of beef short ribs (or beef neck or ox tail)
  • 3 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 5 star anise
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 package rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 pound thinly sliced beef (Korean style, or any lean tender beef)
  • lime wedges
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 3 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh Thai basil
Instructions
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot with the short ribs, ginger, garlic, star anise, whole cloves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and fish sauce. Once boiling lower the heat to a low rolling boil and let the broth cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  2. Remove the broth from the heat and strain the broth. Stir in the vermicelli noodles and wait 10 minutes so the noodles will soften.
  3. Ladle a scoop of the soup with plenty of noodles into a large bowl. Stir a few slices of the raw beef into the bowl along with some of the garnishes. Add some sriracha for heat or hoisin sauce for some sweetness.
  4. Note: if you prefer your beef to be fully cooked prior to serving, add the beef at the same time as the vermicelli noodles.

19 comments

  1. Looks like a very interesting soup. Uses some ingredients I’m not use to, but I’m game to try it. Miss going out for sushi with you. I haven’t been since the last time we had a staff luncheon! Jon is not too keen on it so we don’t go. Just saw the 12 days of Super Bowl Snacks! You are trying to kill me! LOL! Can’t wait to see what you post.

  2. Hey, that recipe sounds very interesting. Some very different ingredients in there. You certainly do have a big variety of recipes!

  3. My boss and coworker are Vietnamese and always treat me to the best food 🙂 I love pho, and yours looks great.

  4. Lovely soup. We used to have a Pho bar in college. I would go there at least 3 times a week. This looks delicious!

  5. I LOVE PHO!! I just wish it loved me. 🙁 Maybe if I try making it homemade?

    • Ya, maybe homemade would be the way to go for you. You can see the list of ingredients for the broth. If something doesn’t work with your system, you could just omit it.

  6. This sounds amazing, Steve. I’ve never actually tried Pho but seeing how easy it seems to be, I definitely will be giving it a try soon!

  7. I’ve been battling a cold. Now I wish I had some of your delicious soup.

  8. oh my gosh — I love that you made this. I love Pho and I didn’t know it was this easy to make. I can’t wait to try this!!!

  9. This type of soup I never even heard of, thanks for expanding my food knowledge. I like the fact that there is beef in here but the broth is not heavy. Thanks for sharing this delicious one!

  10. Great sounding recipe and thanks for sharing. My wife and I love Pho, but have yet to have make it at home. That all changes with your recipe bookmarked.

  11. This looks absolutely amazing! Pho is on my life time list of things to eat AND make! As always, your photos and recipes are stunning!

  12. Steve: This looks so perfect and authentic. I was in vietnam last year and we absolutely loved Pho, morning, noon or night.

  13. I love pho…and now I can make it at home! Beautiful photos~

  14. I always had this soup at least once a week in Vietnamese restaurant, all the ingredients so heavenly I got just right in my kitchen, so I will try this today!! Thank you Steve 🙂

  15. Looks delicious and warm! My local pho place likes to experiment with a few different toppings, and I highly recommend baby bok choy!

  16. I love Pho and recently made it at home for the first time http://bit.ly/tpH8Fv It was so amazingly simple! One of my all time favorite cold weather meal. I love to add lots of sriracha too!

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