The Art of Phở

Who doesn’t love Phở ? It’s simple, yet complex. The dish invites you to sip and slurp while enjoying the sweet flavors of anise and cinnamon, combined with savory beef and tangy lime.  Squirt in some hoisin sauce and Sriracha and the complexity of spices will get you coming back for more.

The classic Vietnamese dish is typically made from beef stock, accompanied by thinly sliced beef, rice noodles and myriad of spices, all garnished with cilantro, lime and bean sprouts. Variations using chicken or tofu have also become popular.

Phở first started appearing in the US in the late 1970’s. As many Viet moved west, pockets of Vietnamese communities continued to grow throughout the 70’s, and many were seeking the comforts of their cultural cuisine. For many years it was quite difficult to find the ingredients to make the dish authentically. It was not until the 80’s that entrepreneurial Viet were able to import authentic Vietnamese ingredients. Shortly thereafter, Phở  restaurants began popping up across the US.


Try Phở  at Home!

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings



  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 12 ounces lean beef sirloin, fat trimmed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 4-inch piece of ginger, unpeeled, halved
  • 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, preferably red and green
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts

Prepare the rice noodles as the label directs.

Meanwhile, place a large pot over high heat. Poke the meat all over with a fork to tenderize it and season with salt and pepper. Sear the meat until charred but still rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side, then transfer to a plate. Add the onion and ginger to the pot; cook about 4 minutes. Add the broth, 3 cups of water, the star anise and cinnamon, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice the scallions and jalapenos (remove seeds for less heat) and tear the cilantro. Thinly slice the meat against the grain. Drain the noodles.

Add the fish sauce to the broth and boil 5 minutes. Discard the ginger, star anise and cinnamon stick. Remove and slice the onion. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls; top with the broth, beef, scallions, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapenos and onion.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine


Interested in trying authentic southern Vietnamese Phở ? Participants on our Volunteer in Vietnam programs live in Ho Chi Minh City and enjoy authentic Vietnamese cooking while staying with a local host family! Find more info at:


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