The Evolution Of Phở (Pho)

For those who are passionate about food and culture, especially Vietnam’s, you must have known Pho already. For those who don’t know what Pho is, Pho is Vietnamese beef noodle soup, which is rich in flavor and mesmerizing in the smell. People always sing compliments for our traditional Pho for its taste, but did you know that there is a whole story behind it.


Vietnam has long been an agricultural country. So we had buffaloes help us with the tasks on rice paddle fields. Buffaloes are tender as they are herbivores. They are also among the most hard-working, persistent and level-headed creatures. After buffaloes die, people would eat them. And they found a way to enhance the flavor of buffalo meat : adding vermicelli to the stock, which is simmered with buffaloes’ bones and meat, and simply eat it with the buffalo meat. This dish was called xáo trâu.


Xáo trâu

Xáo trâu was served mostly in Northern Vietnam for farmers and poor workers. Buffalo meat was tough due to the fact that they had to work hard everyday. However, people still ate it instead of beef since beef was very expensive. It was not until the 1900s when the French invaded that Vietnamese started to eat more of carrot, potato, broccoli, especially beef.

As beef became popular, people noticed that vermicelli was not a good match with beef. They stopped using vermicelli and came up with a different kind of noodle – bánh phở. Bánh phở is more starchy yet softer and fresher than vermicelli. People started adding more and more herbs such as basil, mint leaves, etc. to enhance the taste.


Bánh phở

Days after days, Pho got more and more popular. The two common every Viet is having with their Pho is chicken and beef (sometimes beef balls). Chicken Pho is mostly found in Northern Vietnam while Beef Pho can be found nearly everywhere in this country, from vendors to fancy restaurants. For its uniquely Vietnamese vibes, Pho was the first dish that made it to the Viet stamps. And now, Pho is at every corner on this planet.


Pho on stamps.

Did we mention that Vietnamese people are incredibly creative? Because even though our traditional Pho is the most common, we found other ways to eat this beautiful one.


Ikr. It looks so gooood. Deep fried Pho.


Stir fried Pho


Pho rolls + fish sauce = goals <3

Either way. we LOOOVE our traditional Pho most. It makes a great breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. So, have you had Pho today?