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"Eat Pho Noodle!" Pho Soup Tip by machomikemd

Pho Soup, Ho Chi Minh City: 2 reviews and 6 photos

  Pho Noodles in Market/Street Food Stall!
by machomikemd
  • Pho Noodles in Market/Street Food Stall! - Ho Chi Minh City
      Pho Noodles in Market/Street Food Stall!
    by machomikemd
  • Pho Noodles in Gourmet Restaurant - Ho Chi Minh City
      Pho Noodles in Gourmet Restaurant
    by machomikemd
  • Pho noodles in Pho Restaurant - Ho Chi Minh City
      Pho noodles in Pho Restaurant
    by machomikemd
  • pho noodles at pho 24 - Ho Chi Minh City
      pho noodles at pho 24
    by machomikemd
  • veggies as garnishings for Pho Noodle - Ho Chi Minh City
      veggies as garnishings for Pho Noodle
    by machomikemd

Pho Noodles is the quitessential Vietnamese National Dish, like the tom yum of Thailand. Pho noodles began >100 years ago when ingenious cooks in Nam Dinh City near Hanoi, satisfied the gastronomic desires of Vietnamese and French residents by inventing the dish using local ingredients (e.g., rice noodles) and adding du boeuf for a bit of foreign extravagance. (Before the French occupation, cows in Vietnam were cherished work animals, not food sources.)

Pho has changed much during its nearly 100-year history. At its birth, pho was basically just boiled beef, noodles and broth. Inventive cooks then developed the raw beef version (pho bo tai) and chicken pho (pho ga), and during wartime when beef was scarce, they made pork pho (pho lon). Though these and other variations exist, most people define pho as a beefy affair.

In 1954, under the Geneva Accords, Vietnam was split in two. To avoid communism, many northerners migrated southward, bringing their pho culture with them. In democratic South Vietnam, pho made a brash turn away from its conservative northern traditions. It was embellished with more of everything -- meat, noodles and broth. The practice of garnishing pho with bean sprouts, ngo gai (thorny cilantro), hung que (Thai/Asian basil) and lime was introduced. Diners also started adding tuong (bean sauce/hoisin sauce) directly to their bowls. This freewheeling, adulterated incarnation reflected the southern Vietnamese penchant for eating wildly complicated food and lots of it.

Then, as now, northern pho purists reacted with horror, decrying the loss of authenticity. Though philosophically liberating, tinkering with the sacred broth was an affront to strict northern cooks, whose pride and reputation rested in crafting a well-balanced bowl. (Pho Bac-North Vietnamese Style, Pho Hua- South Vietnamese Style)

Pho cost 20,000-25,000 VND and Street Stalls and Public Markets, 26,000-40,000 VND at Pho Restaurants and 40,000-60,000 at Gourmet Restaurants here in Sai Gon!

Address: Availabel everywhere!
Directions: All Around Sai Gon!

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 13, 2012
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