If you’ve wandered around the Asian grocery section at your local grocery store, you’ve probably seen packages of pho on the shelves. But what is pho? Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a Vietnamese soup dish made with broth, flat rice noodles, herbs, and meat. Pho is super easy to make at home with ingredients from Bokksu Market, but before you do that, you’ll need to know the history of pho first.
As mentioned, pho is a Vietnamese soup dish that is typically made with a bone-beef broth, banh pho noodles, thinly sliced beef, and fresh herbs such as bean sprouts. Many have speculated that pho soup originated from the Nam Dinh and Hanoi regions of North Vietnam, and was created after the French colonized the country in the late 1880s. Moreover, it is believed that “pho” comes from the French word “feu,” or fire, and could be a reference to a French beef stew cuisine called pot au feu.
Since its inception, pho has been reimagined many times over by chefs from different regions. For example, the original pho, called pho bac, is a simple broth dish made by boiling beef bones for several days, and only features thinly sliced beef and rice noodles. Pho nam, another take on the soup, was created after many residents of North Vietnam moved to South Vietnam after WWII. Pho nam differs from pho bac in that it is a much “busier” dish, as it is often seasoned with a number of spices, and is heavily garnished with herbs like cilantro, bean sprouts, and basil.
Though beef was originally an important part of the dish, today we have a chicken-based dish option called pho ga that replaces the beef with chicken completely, and there is even a vegetarian substitute as well, called pho chay.
Sounds pretty good, right? If you’re interested in preparing the meal for yourself, you should know that pho is typically served as a large bowl of broth and noodles with the meat and herb garnishes on the side. The most common way to eat pho is to add the meat in first, followed by the herbs. Afterwards, you can also add sauces like chili paste or sriracha, or zest up your meal with a little squeeze of lime.
Now that you know the history of pho soup, its variations, and how to eat it, it’s time to add some pho ingredients to your pantry so you can treat yourself to a homemade pot of the beloved soup.
Bokksu Market lets you order Asian groceries online and brings them directly to your door, so you can spend less time in the store and more time at the dinner table. If you’re looking for a quick pho fix, the Mama Pho Ga Rice Noodle Cup: Chicken
or the Mama Pho Bo Rice Noodle Cup: Beef has got you covered.
The mix of noodles and meat-flavored broth is a perfect starting point for any novices interested in dipping their toes in the world of pho. Or, if you’d like to makea dish from scratch, you can also grab a bag of the Tiger Rice Noodlesto start
and top it off with a hint of Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce.
Next time you’re about to head out to the grocery store, make sure to check out our selection of Asian grocery goods at Bokksu Market first.
By Jillian Giandurco