Vietnamese Beef Pho

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As an avid foodie and major advocate for trying new things, I cannot believe how long it took me to try Pho for the first time! I grew up in New York City, the mecca for multicultural cuisines and yet, the first time I tried this delicious soup was 2 years ago at the age of 25 in McLean, VA. Whet? Needless to say, I’m so glad I did because it has become one of my favorite soups of all time and my go to for cold winter nights when I need some comfort in my belly!

Pho (pronounced like “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese beef bone broth soup and possibly the most popular Vietnamese dish on the West side of the world. It’s traditionally made by stewing down beef bones with onions, ginger and spices for hours upon hours. Since I’m certain I aint got time “pho” that, I decided to cut down this recipe and use store bought low sodium beef broth. I know it’s cheating, but I was too excited about making this that I just didn't want to take the long, complicated way to get there. #sorrynotsorry

Vietnamese beef pho

Now, I know this ingredient list can be daunting but trust me it’s all worth it!. Sometimes in my recipe posts I say that you could leave out an ingredient or two if you want, but I honestly don’t recommend that here. Everything that’s a part of this dish is needed and are what makes it so great! But if you got slim pockets and must leave out something, I would not include the fish sauce and anise on that list. These two, in my opinion, are essential toward the flavor profile of this delicious soup and just would not be the same without them.

Speaking of anise, I personally found it a little difficult to find these in my local grocery store, or perhaps I’m not looking in the right place, but I ended up picking up a jar of anise seeds from Wholefoods instead of the dried star pods. They seemed to work perfectly fine in this recipe and still give that fragrant spiced flavor to the dish, however, if you can get some pods, I’d recommend that instead. I heard anise oil can also work a substitute but I wouldn't recommend that for this particular recipe since the anise has to be toasted.

Vietnamese beef pho

Okay, lets talk cook times. I mentioned earlier that I cheated a bit and used store bought beef broth instead of making my own, however, I do deem it important to simmer that broth with the onion, garlic, ginger and spices. In pho, the broth is everthanng so basic beef broth with a little flavoring just wont cut it. I suggest simmering for at least an hour but, really, more like 4-6 hours. Utilize that instant pot, crock pot, whatever-pot if you like. Just make sure to get those flavors flowing!

Next, just strain that joint and voila! Perfect pho for cozy winter nights. While I am well aware that I won’t be experiencing winter for a while living in Hawaii (it is truly hot as balls here) but no way is hell is it keeping me away from my pho! Plus Hawaii it saturated with tons of pho and ramen spots all over so I wouldn't be surprised if I saw some kama’ainas (Hawaiian dwellers) eating soup on the beach!

Anyway, this post has gone on long enough so I won’t keep you any longer. Go make some pho, grab a glass of wine and come back here and tell me if it’s started snowing yet. I (sorta) miss it already! 

Vietnamese beef pho
Vietnamese beef pho
Vietnamese Beef Pho
Vietnamese Beef Pho
Perfect for cozying up on cold winter nights.
  • 6 cups low sodium beef broth
  • 2 tsp anise seeds or 2 star anise pods
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup bean sprout
  • 1 bunch Thai basil or basil, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters
  • 1 lb top sirloin, thinly sliced and seasoned with salt & pepper
  • 1 8oz package rice noodles
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, optional
  • 1/4 cup sriracha sauce, optional
  • In a large pot, on medium heat, toast anise and cinnamon until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Add olive oil and heat for 1 minute. Add chopped onions, ginger and garlic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Pour in beef broth and add fish sauce then bring to a boil. Cover then reduce to low heat and simmer for at least 1 hour to allow flavors to develop into broth. (see notes below for additional cooking options)
  • Cook rice noodles according to package directions. Strain broth with a fine strainer into another pot or large bowl. Assemble pho in each individual portion by adding cooked noodles and sliced sirloin to a bowl along with garnish: green onion, basil, cilantro, bean sprout and squeeze of lime.
  • Pour hot broth over noodles, beef slices and garnish. Let stand for 1 minute to allow beef to cook. Add 1 tbsp hoisin sauce and 1 tbsp sriracha sauce, if desired.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings
Skill Level: Easy


  • For a more developed flavor, cook broth for up to 6 hours. Broth can also be cooked in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

  • Adding the hoisin and sriracha sauces changes the flavor a bit. Taste soup before adding and add gradually until desired flavor is met.