A Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soup, Pho is often served with lime, basil, bean sprouts and chilli which are added to the broth by the diners.


Its origin is uncertain, often related to unconfirmed story-telling, but academics say the dish was created a century ago in the country’s north, originally sold by vendors from large boxes until a Pho restaurant opened in Hanoi in the 1920s.


Pho has French and Chinese influences, the word “pho” loaned from the French word “feu” meaning “fire” as in the dish pot-au-feu which, like the Vietnamese noodle dish uses the French method of adding charred onion to the broth to add colour and flavour.


When in Sydney…

An Restaurant
29 Greenfield Pde
Bankstown 2200 NSW
Phone: (02) 9796 7826
Saigon Pho Restaurant
401-403 Sussex St
Sydney 2000 NSW
Phone: (02) 9212 5387



Recipe – Pho (Beef Noodle Soup) 

 Ingredients – Beef Broth

1.5kg oxtail, chopped into sections
1.5kg beef shanks 
3.5 litrs of water  
3 pieces of ginger
1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in half
4 shallots, unpeeled
500g Chinese radish cut into 5cm chunks
3 carrots, unpeeled and cut into chunks
4 whole-star anise
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
¼ cup (60ml) Vietnamese fish sauce
Beef, rice noodles and accompaniments
250g beef round, in one piece and at least 5cm thick
500g dried flat rice stick noodles, 6mm wide
1 large yellow onion
2 spring onions
2 fresh small red chillies
1 cup (30g) fresh coriander leaves
½ cup (15g) fresh mint leaves
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges


Preparation –

  1. In making the broth, lace the meat into a large pot and bring to a boil. Place the ginger, onion and shallots on baking sheet to grill frequently turning until browned on all sides and place aside.
  2. When the broth boils use a large spoon to skim off the foam from the surface until liquid is clear.
  3. Add the browned flavours and the radish, carrots and other ingredients into the pot.
  4. Reduce heat to medium low, covering partially to simmer gently for three hours and 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heart to cool. Strain the broth through a sieve into a bowl, discarding the contents from the sieve.
  6. Stand until the fat rises to the surface and use a large spoon to skim it off the top. Add the fish sauce and salt to taste.
  7. Also soak the dried rice noodles and place them in a large bowl with warm water to cover and stand until soft (about 20 minutes).
  8. Drain and set aside.
  9. Slice the beef across the grain into paper-thin cuts about 5cm wide by 7.5cm long and set aside.
  10. To serve, bring the broth to a boil.
  11. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth warm and thinly slice the onion, spring onions and red chillies to set aside.
  12. Bring a large pot three quarters full of water to boil and add noodles and boil until tender (one minute).
  13. Drain and divide the noodles evenly among six soup bowls.
  14. Top each with the onions, a few slices of beef and some chillies and garnish with the coriander and mint. Make sure to serve with lime wedges. 

(serves 6)