Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

"Recipe is from a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), Vietnam. Acquired during a trip to Vietnam. This is an overnight dish."
photo by rpgaymer photo by rpgaymer
photo by rpgaymer
photo by Debbie R. photo by Debbie R.
Ready In:
2hrs 40mins




  • Wrap ginger, anise, shallots and cinnamon in two layers of cheesecloth; tie with heavy cotton string.
  • In a 10 qt pan, combine beef chuck, broth, 2 1/2 qts water, nouc mam sauce, sugar and spice bundle. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Uncover, reduce heat and simmer until beef is tender when pierced (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours).
  • With a slotted spoon, transfer meat to a freezer container and freeze overnight. Cool soup and then refridgerate overnight.
  • The next day, take frozen beef chuck and thinly slice across the grain into 2 to 3 inch slices.
  • Skim and discard fat from broth. Add 1/8 tsp salt and 2 tbsp Nouc Mam sauce. Bring broth back to boil.
  • Arrange bean sprouts, chiles, basil, cilantro, and limes on a platter.
  • Once broth boils, reduce to simmer. Immerse sliced sirloin in simmering broth (use wire strainer or skimmer) and cook just until brown on the outside but still pink in the center (30 seconds to 1 min). Lift out and set aside.
  • Mound hot cooked rice noodles equally in deep bowls (at least 3 cup capacity). Top equally with beef chuck, sirloin, yellow onion and green onions.
  • Ladle broth over noodles to cover generously.
  • Serve Pho Bo with platter of condiments, hoisin sauce and chili paste adding to taste.

Questions & Replies

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  1. rpgaymer
    Just a perfect soup that's a complete, filling meal by itself! I've never even had pho, so making it myself was daunting- luckily, your recipe is very easy to follow. I didn't change a thing, although I did add a chopped & bruised lemongrass to the spice bag. I used every condiment except the hoisin sauce. The broth was delicious, spicy and extremely aromatic, and the meat was perfectly cooked and well-flavored. I will be making this soup many times, that's for sure.
  2. evelynathens
    We all dearly love pho. This is a very good recipe and not nearly as difficult as the long list of ingredients may suggest. VERY aromatic - the seasonings were perfect.
  3. Debbie R.
    This is a very rich pho, especially in contrast to the Thai pho I like to get at a favorite restaurant. Perhaps the difference is in countries? This pho is suitable for company. The broth on the Thai pho was much weaker, which sounds bad, but actually is excellent. It's what you'd serve the family, especially if someone's fighting upper respiratory issues. I think the difference could be as simple as using broth or not instead of water over the meat/bones. This recipe is easier to make than you might think if you do it in the two-day process as specified. ZWT9



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