top of page
  • Writer's pictureKevin Dam

"The Ultimate Guide to Making Perfect Phở Bò: Tips and Tricks from the Star of Vietnam"

Dish name: Phở Bò (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

  • Preparation time: 4-6 hours

  • Yield: Serves 6-8

  • Expiration: Broth can be refrigerated for up to 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Noodles should be eaten fresh.

  • Ingredients:

  • 1 kg beef bones

  • 300g beef brisket

  • 400g rice noodles (phở noodles)

  • 3 liters water

  • 1 onion, halved and charred

  • 1 piece ginger, about 5cm, charred

  • 5 star anise

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 cloves

  • 1 cardamom pod

  • 1 piece rock sugar

  • Fish sauce, to taste

  • Salt, to taste

  • Thinly sliced beef sirloin or other tender cuts for serving

  • Garnishes: Bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and fresh chili peppers


  1. Parboil beef bones in boiling water for about 10 minutes to remove impurities, then rinse with cold water.

  2. Fill a large pot with clean water, add beef bones and brisket, and bring to a gentle boil.

  3. Add charred onion and ginger to the pot. Toast the spices (star anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom) in a dry pan until fragrant and add them to the broth.

  4. Reduce the heat and simmer for at least 3 hours. Skim the froth and fat off the top regularly.

  5. Season the broth with rock sugar, fish sauce, and salt to taste.

  6. Continue to simmer the broth; the longer you simmer, the more flavorful it will be. Remove the brisket when tender, slice thinly, and set aside.

  7. Prepare the rice noodles according to the package instructions.

  8. Blanch the thin slices of beef sirloin in the hot broth for a few seconds.

  9. Assemble bowls with cooked noodles, slices of cooked brisket, and raw sirloin.

  10. Ladle the hot broth over the bowls, ensuring to pour it over the raw beef to cook it.

  11. Serve with garnishes such as bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and fresh chili peppers.

Tips and Tricks for Making Perfect Phở Bò:

  1. Bone Broth: Use a mix of marrow bones and knuckle bones for a rich, gelatinous broth.

  2. Charring Onion and Ginger: Char the onion and ginger directly over an open flame (or under a broiler) until they are blackened on all sides for a deeper flavor in the broth.

  3. Spices: Wrap the spices in cheesecloth or put them in a spice infuser to make them easy to remove later.

  4. Skimming: Regularly skim off any scum or fat that rises to the surface for a clear, clean-tasting broth.

  5. Simmering Time: A longer simmering time (up to 6 hours) will develop more profound flavors in the broth.

  6. Serving Raw Beef: Use very thin slices of high-quality beef sirloin so that they cook instantly when the hot broth is poured over them.

  7. Noodles: Do not overcook the noodles; they should be slightly chewy.

  8. Temperature: Serve everything piping hot — the broth should be boiling when ladled over the noodles and beef.

To make the broth more flavorful in Phở Bò, consider these tips and tricks:

  1. Quality Bones: Use high-quality beef bones, particularly marrow bones and knuckle bones, which contribute to a richer and more gelatinous broth.

  2. Roasting Bones: For deeper flavor, try roasting the bones in the oven until they are golden brown before boiling them.

  3. Charring Aromatics: Char onions and ginger either over an open flame or in the oven until they develop a blackened exterior, which will impart a smoky depth to the broth.

  4. Correct Ratio of Spices: Ensure a balanced amount of spices such as star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom. Toasting them before adding to the broth can also enhance their flavors.

  5. Long Cooking Time: Allow the broth to simmer for at least 3-6 hours. A longer simmering time allows the flavors to develop more fully.

  6. Skim Regularly: Keep skimming off any scum and excess fat that rise to the surface. This ensures a clear broth and helps concentrate the flavors.

  7. Seasoning: Use rock sugar and good-quality fish sauce for seasoning, adjusting the amounts to your taste preferences.

  8. Use of Umami Enhancers: Items such as dried shiitake mushrooms or a small piece of dried squid can boost the umami flavor in the broth without overpowering the traditional Phở taste.

  9. Freshness of Ingredients: Always use fresh spices and fresh herbs for garnishing. The freshness contributes significantly to the overall flavor profile of the soup.

  10. Refrigerate Overnight: If time permits, let the broth cool after cooking and refrigerate it overnight. The next day, remove the layer of solidified fat on top, and reheat the broth to serve. This process can intensify the flavors.

By carefully selecting ingredients and giving your broth the time and attention it needs to simmer, you'll create a Phở Bò with a deeply satisfying and richly flavored broth.

Phở Bò ( Vietnamese Beef Noodle)
Phở Bò ( Vietnamese Beef Noodle)

Enjoy your aromatic and flavorful bowl of Phở Bò, a Vietnamese classic that's both satisfying and soul-warming.

15 views1 comment

1 Comment

John Harris
May 22

bottom of page