Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Since everyone at home like Vietnamese Noodle so much, I thought I should try to make it at home. Last month, I went scouring for the ingredients to make the beef broth and found them in a Vietnamese grocery store along Kingsway (near Main). The Beef Flavoured Pho Soup Base costs $8.99 and is used to make 20 bowls of soup!


The soup base had been sitting in the shelf for a long time because according to the cooking instructions, it takes over 2 hrs to make. Along with that, I was mulling over how is the family going to finish off 20 bowls of Pho soup. Anyway, I finally gotten down to making it over the long Easter weekend. I must say it was more successful than I anticipated. The soup was better than any we have tasted in Vietnamese Restaurants … well, according to everyone in my family anyway. We have chunkier meat which we felt tastes better than the thin sliced beef we were served in restaurants.


You know what is the bad thing about this? We have been eating this for three consecutive meals (yesterday’s lunch and dinner and today’s lunch!) and we have quite a bit left! 🙂 I am certainly going to make it again but I will think of how I am going to give away some to friends.

Here are some interesting facts about Pho on Wikipedia:


  • 3 – 4 lbs of beef flank (or brisket)
  • 1 lb beef tendon — since I could not buy them, I got the marinated/cooked ones from T&T
  • 1 bulb onion
  • 2 piecese of ginger

I also bought 1/2 lb of beef tripe since Norm and Marc likes them. I also bought 1/2 lb of beef balls.

Please note, you need to have a 2 gallon pot to make the Pho soup.



S_IMG_4446_edited-1I blanch the beef flank for 15 minutes. Now, this step confuses me because I was not sure what “blanch meat for 15 minutes” really mean. So, I ended up boiling the water and switching off the stove — and then placed the meat into the hot water for slightly less than 10 minutes. I then ran cold water over the meat. Help: what is the blanching for, do you know?
S_IMG_4448_edited-1I then put the meat, onion and ginger into the pot and add just enough water to cover the meat. I then boiled at medium flame for 1 hour.
S_IMG_4452_edited-1After 1 hour, I added the contents (including the spiced filter bags) of the soup base into the pot. After another 15 minutes and when the meat is softened, I removed the filter bags. Once the meat has been softened enough, I removed the meat, onion and ginger. I discarded the onion and ginger — he he he, don’t discard the meat. 🙂
S_IMG_4462_edited-1I adjust the water to 2 gallons and bring to boil to serve. At this time I added in the beef tripe and beef balls to cook them.
S_IMG_4457_edited-1While waiting for the Pho soup to boil, I prepared the rice noodles in another pot.
S_IMG_4461_edited-1Here it is … all the ingredients in the bowl before I add in the soup. I also added some thinly sliced onions and cilantro for garnishing.

Let me know what you think. I know this is not as authentic as Vietnamese makes it. For instance, I was told that I should use cow bones to make the broth and I should get the butcher to slice the beef meat real thin. Anyway, I know Kathy/Andy from Portland is an expert in making Pho … any tips to make this better?

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  1. Thao

    I didn’t see if you used hoisin sauce for seasoning or lemon but I like to use that in my pho. But it’s whatever you like. I know in restaurants they generally serve with a plate of mint, bean sprouts and other greens. Looks like you did a great job!

  2. Travis

    That looks really good, too bad you have to make so much!

    I think Vietnamese basil would be a good idea, they always serve it with that at restaurants, and some lime, too.

  3. Jerry K.

    Looks really good. I may try this one.

    If you need drinks to go along with this other than beer:


  4. Mark Base

    This is, without doubt, the yummiest blog on the net…Can’t surf here when I’m hungry though; I start drooling like mad!

  5. Suanne

    Hi Thao: Oh, so that’s what that teriyaki-like sauce was I see on the table in Vietnamese restaurants. I’ll try the Hoisin sauce next time. Thanks for the feedback.

    Hi Travis: That’s what is missing, basil. I’m not sure where to buy it but will look out for it.

    Hi Mark: He he he … sometimes I feel hungry looking at my own blogs too! 🙂


  6. sally

    Beef Pho is so good because it is so simple! Straight forward and basic!

  7. Brian Nguyen

    Hi Suanne,

    Thank you for using our product. To answer your question about “what is blanching?” Blanching basically means boiling for short time. The reason that you have to blanch meat is to remove as much blood from meat as possible. If you pay attention to Pho’s broth, it is clear. To keep the Pho’s broth clear, you must blanch meat before using.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at


  8. Suanne

    Hi Brian: We just bought a few other types from your company. Been sitting there for a few weeks already but will make it sometime next month — will also blog about it. What is your top selling products?

  9. Brian Nguyen

    Hi Suanne,

    For a while I have not sign-on to this website. Our top selling products are Beef Flavored Pho, Chicken Flavored Pho, “Hue” Style Beef Flavored and Pork “Hu Tieu” soup bases.

    If you have any question, please let me know.


  10. MrPlankton

    Please include web site where soap base may be found.

    Thank You.

  11. windysan

    We have a huge vietnamese community here in new orleans. I too have this pho soup base in my cabinet. You’ve encouraged me to try it.

  12. mike

    I have tryed this product and love it, is there any distributer in canada for this pho base?

  13. Kristy

    my mom bought different types of soup bases for everything. oh and there is a 5 gallon soup base.

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