What is Pho?
Traditionally, pho is prepared by simmering a broth made with beef bones, ginger, onions, and other spices over low heat for several hours. Rice noodles, known as “banh pho,” are then added, as well as herbs like cilantro or basil. Finally, thinly sliced beef or chicken is incorporated and cooked in the hot broth. Some people like to top it with bean sprouts, vegetables, chili pepper, or lime. While most commonly eaten during the colder months, many restaurants serve this Vietnamese soup year round.
Pho differs throughout Vietnam and in other parts of the world, depending on the broth’s flavor, noodle size, and ingredients added to the finished product.
Like many other famous comfort foods in various cuisines, phở was originally only cooked in the home. Gradually, as Vietnam became industrialized and people were less able to make time-intensive dishes on their own, phở-making matriarchs started selling their phở to workers who did not have the time or relatives to cook their own phở.