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Vietnamese Pho: Assembling

Updated on August 4, 2012

After cooking pho Broth, you might want to have it on the day OR store it in the freezer for future consuming.
This hub is going to share with you, how to assemble a bowl of Pho, particularly the medium-rare beef type so you will have an idea of how to go from Pho broth to Pho bowl.

Cook Time

Prep time: 25 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 45 min
Yields: 4 servings


1 pound flat noodle/dried rice noodle
1/4 pound beef loin or sirloin type
2 spring onion/ scallion,green part thinly sliced; white part thinly sliced lengthwise
1/4 cup coriander/cilantro, coarsely chopped (optional)
1/6 cup sawtooth herb, thinly sliced (optional)
4-8 thin slices of ginger
a small piece ginger, juiced
1/2 - 1 bird eyes chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)


1, Prepare bánh phở: Soak dried noodle overnight in cold water or 1 hours in warm water(30-40 Celsius). Drain in a colander.

2, Prepare topping

  • Thinly slice beef across the grain. Squeeze ginger juice over it, add salt, sugar, fresh chopped chilli (optional) and vegetable oil. Mix then cover and refrigerate at least 15 minutes to marinate.
  • Wash and slice herbs, leave them separated because some people might not like all together.

3: Assembling: Place one or two portion of noodle on the vertical-handle strainer (or sieve). Dunk the strainer into the boiling water and stir or shake. When the noodle is ready, lift the strainer and let water drain back into the pot, give it final shakes and pour the noodle to serving bowl.

Place a portion of beef on a big ladle and cover with Pho boiling broth so it is partly cooked. Pour it to pho bowl. Place spring onion's white part and repeat the process. Top with other herbs, 1-2 slices of fresh ginger and a teaspoon of good fish sauce then cover with generous broth. Sever with fragrant herbs, fish sauce, chilli sauce/fresh chilli and garlic pickle.

Be generous with the broth, it does not only season the pho, it keep pho hot your way.

How to eat Pho?

It varies from region and region, person to person, eating pho a personal business (as with so many other dishes) nonetheless we share few common gestures:

Taste the broth and adjust to your taste accordingly:

Squeeze fresh lime/lemon juice
Add fresh chilli, chilli sauce or chilli oil (optional)
Drizzle dấm ớt tỏi - pickle garlic (optional)
Drizzle fish sauce (optional)
People from the South of Vietnam might want to add hoisin sauce and have a side salad with Thai basil and bean sprouts. They will then sprig herbs, tear it then drop into their bowl and enjoy it with the noodle, broth and bean sprouts. The combinations vary from bite to bite.

One hand with chopsticks, one with a spoon, you'll try to finish a noodle while it is still hot, avoid conversation. Well, you can talk if you want but that's how a Pho expert would do :).

Happy cooking!

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