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Pho Bo Soup - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

User Rating 2.5 Star Rating (8 Reviews)


A nourishing soup made with flat rice noodles, Pho Bo soup is popular throughout Vietnam. Serves 4 to 6.
Scroll down below the recipe directions for more Vietnamese recipes.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


  • Beef Broth: 
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 2-inch stick ginger
  • 2 pounds beef bones
  • 12 cups water
  • 6 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound lean, tender beef
  • Noodles:
  • 1 16-ounce package dry, flat rice noodles (pho)
  • Garnish: 
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 cilantro sprigs, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 10 sprigs basil 
  • 10 sprigs fresh culantro (ngo gai) 
  • fresh red or green chile pepper, thinly sliced
  • Accompaniments 
  • lime or lemon quarters
  • fish sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • hot chile sauce


Broil onion and ginger until they look burned. Using back of cleaver, smash the ginger and set aside.
  Wash beef bones, place in a large soup pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and immediately pour off this "first boiling" water and discard. Add another 12 cups of fresh water and again bring to a boil. Skim off foam. Add the broiled onion and ginger, star anise, salt and sugar. Over medium-low heat, simmer for 30 minutes.  Slice raw beef into thin strips and set aside.
Remove bones from broth and strain out vegetables and seasonings.  Soak noodles in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain. In a soup pot bring two quarts fresh water to a boil. Add drained noodles and cook seven minutes at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally until noodles are tender.
  Rinse noodles under cold running water and set aside.
  Return the broth to a boil over high heat.

  To serve: Divide noodles among 4 to 6 large individual serving bowls. Arrange thinly sliced raw beef, scallions, onion, and cilantro on top. Pour boiling hot broth to cover noodles and serve immediately. The boiling broth will cook the thin slices of beef. Pho is always accompanied by bean sprouts, basil leaves, culantro and chile pepper. Serve with lime and lemon quarters, fish sauce, hoisin sauce and hot chile sauce. Serves 4 to 6.

*Culantro is a leafy herb with a similar aroma to cilantro, although more pungent. If unavailable, increase the amount of cilantro or simply leave out.  Recipe Reprinted with permission from The Vietnamese Cookbook, by Diana My Tran.

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