Faux Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Total Time
1hr 30mins
Prep 30 mins
Cook 1 hr

This is an easy version that starts with canned beef broth. Some of the ingredients may be hard for people in some parts of the world to find--I live in an area with a large Asian population so I've never had any trouble myself. Be careful when using the sriracha or sambal oelek, as they are very hot. Fish sauce, to the uninitiated, smells really awful--but it doesn't taste like it smells. Once you've added it to your soup, you won't smell it nearly so strongly and it adds a pleasant, salty, seafood-y flavor to your food.

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 quarts fat free low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 large onion, sliced into paper-thin rings
  • 6 slices peeled fresh gingerroot (about the size of quarters)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cleaned, leaves removed (do not substitute lemon zest or juice(the flavor is not at all the same)
  • 1 small piece cinnamon stick (I use broken pieces of stick cinnamon, about 1 tsp total)
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorn
  • 1 lb beef sirloin tip, cut into very thin slices (ask the butcher to slice it paper thin(I like to buy beef for sukiyaki at the Oriental market)
  • 12 lb fresh bean sprout, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup fresh Thai basil, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, rinsed and dried (coriander)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • 12-1 lb flat rice noodles (I prefer noodles about 1/4 inch wide)
  • sambal oelek (optional) or sriracha sauce (optional)
  • thinly sliced serrano peppers (optional) or jalapeno chile (optional)
  • fish sauce (nam pla) (optional)
  • hoisin sauce (optional)


  1. In a 6 quart stockpot, combine broth, onion, ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, and peppercorns (tie the seasonings loosely in cheesecloth for easier removal). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare rice noodles and garnishes.
  3. Arrange bean sprouts, basil, cilantro, chilies, and limes on a large platter.
  4. To prepare rice noodles, bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and stir to separate. Cook until just barely tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain well. If not quite ready to serve, rinse noodles and drain again.
  5. To serve, remove seasonings (except onions) from broth; keep broth hot.
  6. Place ½ cup rice noodles in each of 6 large, deep bowls.
  7. Arrange thinly sliced beef over noodles, fanning out to increase surface area. Ladle very hot broth over beef and stir to cook.
  8. Serve immediately. Pass garnish platter, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, and sambal oelek or sriracha sauce for people to add as desired.


Most Helpful

I have to admit that in spite of all the 5* ratings, I wasn't too sure how this was going to turn out. Pho has such a complex flavor and the Vietnamese recipes I've seen talk about using things like oxtails and having to simmer the broth all day long, etc., but this was FANTASTIC! Simple, easy, and still complex in flavor. Thanks!

Rhondapalooza March 09, 2011

Love this recipe! We have made it several times and is quickly becoming a staple dish in our house. I can never seem to cut the beef as thin as I like, so I keep it a little thicker and toss it in the pot during last few minutes to cook. Delish soup!

deuelkathryn March 22, 2009

A simple and easy pho recipe. I will be making it again. I like things spicy, so I doubled all the spices and added a star anise and 1/2 tsp of corriander seeds to the broth mixture as I had it on hand and noticed the ingrediants in other pho bo recipes. I put all spices for the broth inside tea bags that I use for loose tea. I just had to toss out the tea bags, and I was left with the clear flavorful broth. I really like the idea of adding the sodium rich ingrediants to your bowl to your taste. Pho is usually so high in sodium, that being able to produce a lower sodium version was wonderful. Many thanks!

foodwhisperer1 January 04, 2013

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