Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

pho bo (2 of 4)

Pho is a noodle soup originating in Northern Vietnam. It is filled with banh pho (flat rice noodles), meat, and herbs. This recipe for Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) includes two types of beef: brisket boiled in the beef stock and top round that is sliced so thinly that it cooks when the hot broth is poured over it. There are multiple garnishes that can accompany this soup. Use your favorites or include them all. I used Thai basil and cilantro from my garden, lime, jalapeno slices, and hoisin sauce. The sauces are not added to the soup. As you eat, dip the pieces of meat into the Sriracha and hoisin.

More information on Pho and pronunciation of pho.pho bo (1 of 4)

Banh Pho (Rice Sticks) are noodles made from rice flour. They differ from other types of rice noodles by being square or rectangular shaped (flat) on the edges, instead of the round shape (called bun). Banh Pho are sold either fresh or dried. Fresh banh pho are cooked in boiling water for only a few seconds, while dried noodles are soaked for about 15 minutes, until tender. The width of the noodles also vary. I used the wider noodles for Pho Bo. I was only able to find dried rice noodles at the local Asian food market. It is also on Amazon: A Taste of Thai Wide Rice Noodles, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6), but I have found it much cheaper in the local markets when available.

More information on Banh Pho.
pho bo (4 of 4)

The raw beef slices added to the top must be thin enough to cook when the soup is poured over it. To help slice them paper-thin, place the top round in the freezer about 15 minutes before using and pound with a meat tenderizer. pho bo (3 of 4)

Pho Bo

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

6 servings

Pho Bo


1 pound beef brisket

3 quarts beef stock

Fish sauce to taste

1 pound wide rice noodles

12 ounces beef top round, thinly sliced

1 cup thinly sliced scallions


Thai basil

Mung bean sprouts

Lime wedges

Jalapenos, stems removed and thinly sliced



In a large pot, add brisket and cover with beef stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium, maintaining a strong simmer until the brisket is cooked through, 30-45 minutes.

Fill a large bowl with ice water. Once the juices of the brisket run clear, remove from broth and immediately place in ice water. Once cooled thoroughly, remove from water, dry, and slice thinly against the grain.

Fill a large bowl or pot with boiling water. Submerge dried rice noodles and let sit until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from water, drain, and rinse with cold water. If using fresh noodles, submerge for only a few seconds.

Return the beef stock to high heat. Add a couple of dashes of fish sauce to taste.

While the stock is heating, arrange a serving plate with desired garnishes, along with dipping bowls of Sriracha and hoisin.

Place cooked rice noodles in each soup bowl. Top with a few sliced of brisket. Thinly slice the raw beef top round. Divide the slices among the bowls. Top with hot beef stock and scallions. Serve immediately with garnishes and dipping sauces.

Adapted from Vietnamese Home Cooking

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Comments: 2

  1. Kylee 18 June, 2013 at 12:52 pm Reply

    That looks amazing!

    • Tara 19 October, 2014 at 8:46 pm Reply


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