• Introduction to Vietnamese Pho
  • Types of Pho
    • Pho Bo – Northern Vietnamese Pho
    • Pho Bac
    • Bun Bo Hue
    • Pho Ga – Southern Vietnamese Pho
    • Pho Nam
  • Pho in Vietnamese Cuisine
  • FAQ

A Brief History of Pho: The Delicious Vietnamese Noodle Soup

Pho is a staple Vietnamese noodle soup that has become a beloved dish around the world. It’s a complex and flavorful soup made from rice noodles, beef or chicken broth, and a variety of fresh herbs and spices. In this article, we’ll explore the rich history and regional variations of pho, from its origins in northern Vietnam to its popularity in southern Vietnam and beyond

Introduction to Vietnamese Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that originated in northern Vietnam in the early 20th century. The dish was created in Nam Dinh province, a coastal region known for its high-quality beef. The locals would often use leftover beef bones to make a flavorful broth and serve it with rice noodles and fresh herbs.

The popularity of pho quickly spread throughout North Vietnam, and by the 1950s, it had become a beloved dish among the Vietnamese people. During the Vietnam War, soldiers and civilians alike would often gather in makeshift pho restaurants to enjoy a warm bowl of soup and escape the chaos of the war.


Types of Pho 

Pho Bo – Northern Vietnamese Pho

Pho bo, or beef pho, is the most famous type of pho and is a staple in northern Vietnamese cuisine. The broth is made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, and various spices, including star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. The broth is then strained and served with rice noodles, thin slices of beef, and fresh herbs such as Thai basil and cilantro.

Pho Bac

Pho Bac, also known as Hanoi-style pho, is a northern Vietnamese style that features a clear broth and flat rice noodles. The broth is typically seasoned with fish sauce and served with raw beef that cooks in the hot soup.

Bun Bo Hue

Bun Bo Hue is a variation of pho bo that originates from the central Vietnamese city of Hue. The soup features a spicy beef broth and thicker rice noodles than traditional pho.

Pho Ga – Southern Vietnamese Pho

Pho ga, or chicken pho, is a popular variation of pho that originates from southern Vietnam. The broth is made from chicken bones and is lighter and clearer than beef broth. The soup is served with rice noodles, chicken meat, and fresh herbs such as Thai basil and cilantro.

Pho Nam

Southern Vietnamese pho, or pho nam, is a sweeter and spicier version of pho that is served with bean sprouts, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce. The noodles used in southern pho are typically wider and flatter than those used in the north.

Pho in Vietnamese Cuisine

Pho has become an iconic dish in Vietnamese cuisine and is enjoyed by people all over the world. Vietnamese restaurants can be found in many cities across the globe, serving up delicious bowls of pho to hungry customers.

The popularity of pho has also helped to showcase the diversity of Vietnamese cuisine. From the northern and southern variations of pho to other dishes such as banh pho (rice noodle rolls) and bun bo (beef noodle salad), Vietnamese food offers a wide range of flavors and textures that are sure to please any palate.

Pho is a beloved Vietnamese noodle soup that has a rich history and regional variations. From its origins in northern Vietnam to its popularity in southern Vietnam and beyond, pho has become a symbol of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. Whether you prefer beef pho, chicken pho, or one of the many other variations, there is no denying the deliciousness and complexity of this beloved soup. So the next time you visit a Vietnamese restaurant like SB Pho in Santa Barbara or travel to Vietnam, be sure to try a bowl of pho and appreciate the history and tradition that has gone into creating this iconic dish. 


Q: Is pho gluten-free?

A: Traditional pho is gluten-free, as it is made with rice noodles. However, some restaurants may add wheat flour to their noodles, so it is important to check with the restaurant or chef to ensure that the dish is gluten-free.

Q: Can I make pho at home?

A: Yes, pho can be made at home, although it requires some time and effort to prepare the broth and ingredients. There are many recipes and tutorials available online to guide you through the process.

Q: Is pho healthy?

A: Pho can be a healthy dish, as it is typically low in fat and calories and contains a variety of nutrient-rich ingredients, such as vegetables and herbs. However, some recipes may be high in sodium, so it is important to be mindful of your intake.



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1221 State Street

Suite 10, E Victoria St Lot 5

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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