Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Pho Bo is a famous Vietnamese beef noodle soup dish that is believed to have been developed to please the palate of both Chinese and French traders who frequented the textile markets of Nam Dinh province of Vietnam about a century ago.

It is perhaps the fusion of these distinct Eastern and Western cultures that has made Pho Bo the internationally popular dish it is today. You'll find its presence in the restaurants of major cities from New York to Hanoi and everywhere in between. In Thailand, especially in larger towns, you'll find a plethora of Vietnamese restaurants serving Pho Bo.


  • 2 large onions, roasted
  • 4 inch piece of ginger, roasted
  • 5 large cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1 large daikon radish, peeled
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoon sugar
  • 6 Tablespoon Thai fish sauce
  • 3 lbs. beef bones
  • 3 lbs. beef shanks
  • 6 pc star anise
  • 2 pc cinnamon sticks
  • 8 oz. fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 lbs. dried rice noodles, soaked to soften
  • 1 lb. beef sirloin, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup scallions, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Good quality, very thinly sliced raw beef sirloin


Roast onion, ginger and garlic over a gas burner until skins are burnt. In a large stock pot, combine water, bones and shank. Bring to a boil, skimming to remove residue, until broth is clear. Add roasted onion, ginger, garlic, daikon, carrots, star anise, cinnamon sticks, salt, sugar and fish sauce. Cook for 1 hour. Check the beef shank. when tender, remove it from the stock pot. Set aside to cool before slicing into very thin strips. In the meantime, continue to cook the broth for another hour Taste and adjust the seasoning. Continue to simmer the broth on low heat.

When ready to serve, quickly blanch rice noodles in a pot of boiling water. Strain and portion the noodles into individual large bowls. Top with sliced beef shank, sliced raw beef sirloin (optional), sliced onion, chopped scallions and chopped cilantro, sprinkle with black pepper. Pour the broth into the bowl and serve.

Have on hand at the table, adding these condiments to your bowl to taste:

Recipe © Temple of Thai 2010. Image credit: dole / 123RF Stock Photo

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