|Place of origin||Vietnam|
|Region or state||Northern Vietnam|
|Main ingredients||Rice noodles and beef or chicken|
Phở or pho[a] (UK: /fɜː/, US: /fʌ/, Canada: /fɔː/; Vietnamese: [fəː˧˩˧] (listen)) is a Vietnamese soup dish consisting of broth, rice noodles (bánh phở), herbs, and meat (usually beef (phở bò), sometimes chicken (phở gà)). Phở is a popular food in Vietnam where it is served in households, street-stalls, and restaurants country-wide. Residents of the city of Nam Định were the first to create Vietnamese traditional phở. It is considered Vietnam's national dish.
Phở originated in the early 20th century in Northern Vietnam, and was popularized throughout the world by refugees after the Vietnam War. Because phở's origins are poorly documented, there is disagreement over the cultural influences that led to its development in Vietnam, as well as the etymology of the name. The Hanoi (northern) and Saigon (southern) styles of pho differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs and sauce.
Phở likely evolved from similar noodle dishes. For example, villagers in Vân Cù say they ate phở long before the French colonial period. The modern form emerged between 1900 and 1907 in northern Vietnam, southeast of Hanoi in Nam Định Province, then a substantial textile market. The traditional home of phở is reputed to be the villages of Vân Cù and Dao Cù (or Giao Cù) in Đông Xuân commune, Nam Trực District, Nam Định Province.
Cultural historian and researcher Trịnh Quang Dũng believes that the popularization and origins of modern pho stemmed from the intersection of several historical and cultural factors in the early 20th century. These include improved availability of beef due to French demand, which in turn produced beef bones that were purchased by Chinese workers to make into a dish similar to phở called ngưu nhục phấn. The demand for this dish was initially the greatest with workers from the provinces of Yunnan and Guangdong, who had an affinity for the dish due to its similarities to that of their homeland, which eventually popularized and familiarized this dish with the general population.
Phở was originally sold at dawn and dusk by itinerant street vendors, who shouldered mobile kitchens on carrying poles (gánh phở). From the pole hung two wooden cabinets, one housing a cauldron over a wood fire, the other storing noodles, spices, cookware, and space to prepare a bowl of phở. The heavy gánh was always shouldered by men. They kept their heads warm with distinctive felt hats called mũ phở.
Hanoi's first two fixed phở stands were a Vietnamese-owned Cát Tường on Cầu Gỗ Street and a Chinese-owned stand in front of Bờ Hồ tram stop. They were joined in 1918 by two more on Quạt Row and Đồng Row. Around 1925, a Vân Cù villager named Vạn opened the first "Nam Định style" pho stand in Hanoi. Gánh phở declined in number around 1936–1946 in favor of stationary eateries.
In the late 1920s, various vendors experimented with húng lìu, sesame oil, tofu, and even Lethocerus indicus extract (cà cuống). This "phở cải lương" failed to enter the mainstream.
Phở tái, served with rare beef, had been introduced by 1930. Chicken pho appeared in 1939, possibly because beef was not sold at the markets on Mondays and Fridays at the time.
With the partition of Vietnam in 1954, over a million people fled North Vietnam for South Vietnam. Phở, previously unpopular in the South, suddenly became popular. No longer confined to northern culinary traditions, variations in meat and broth appeared, and additional garnishes, such as lime, mung bean sprouts (giá đỗ), culantro (ngò gai), cinnamon basil (húng quế), Hoisin sauce (tương đen), and hot Sriracha sauce (tương ớt) became standard fare. Phở tái also began to rival fully cooked phở chín in popularity. Migrants from the North similarly popularized bánh mì sandwiches.
Meanwhile, in North Vietnam, private phở restaurants were nationalized (mậu dịch quốc doanh) and began serving phở noodles made from old rice. Street vendors were forced to use noodles made of imported potato flour. Officially banned as capitalism, these vendors prized portability, carrying their wares on gánh and setting out plastic stools for customers.
During the so-called subsidy period following the Vietnam War, state-owned pho eateries served a meatless variety of the dish known as pilotless pho (phở không người lái), in reference to the U.S. Air Force's unmanned reconnaissance drones. The broth consisted of boiled water with MSG added for taste, as there were often shortages on various foodstuffs like meat and rice during that period. Bread or cold rice was often served as a side dish, leading to the present-day practice of dipping quẩy (deep-fried wheat flour dough) in pho.
Pho eateries were privatized as part of Đổi Mới. Many street vendors must still maintain a light footprint to evade police enforcing the street tidiness rules that replaced the ban on private ownership.
In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese refugees brought pho to many countries. Restaurants specializing in phở appeared in numerous Asian enclaves and Little Saigons, such as in Paris and in major cities in the United States, Canada and Australia. In 1980, the first of hundreds of phở restaurants opened in the Little Saigon in Orange County, California.
In the United States, phở began to enter the mainstream during the 1990s, as relations between the U.S. and Vietnam improved. At that time Vietnamese restaurants began opening quickly in Texas and California, spreading rapidly along the Gulf and West Coasts, as well as the East Coast and the rest of the country. During the 2000s, phở restaurants in the United States generated US$500 million in annual revenue, according to an unofficial estimate. Phở can now be found in cafeterias at many college and corporate campuses, especially on the West Coast.
The word "pho" was added to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary in 2007. Phở is listed at number 28 on "World's 50 most delicious foods" compiled by CNN Go in 2011. The Vietnamese Embassy in Mexico celebrated Phở Day on April 3, 2016, with Osaka Prefecture holding a similar commemoration the following day. Phở has been adopted by other Southeast Asian cuisines, including Lao and Hmong cuisine. It sometimes appears as "Phô" on menus in Australia.
Reviews of 19th and 20th century Vietnamese literature have found that pho entered the mainstream sometime in the 1910s. Georges Dumoutier's extensive 1907 account of Vietnamese cuisine omits any mention of phở, while Nguyễn Công Hoan recalls its sale by street vendors in 1913. A 1931 dictionary is the first to define phở as a soup: "from the word phấn. A dish consisting of small slices of rice cake boiled with beef."
Possibly the earliest English-language reference to pho was in the book Recipes of All Nations, edited by Countess Morphy in 1935: In the book, pho is described as "an Annamese soup held in high esteem ... made with beef, a veal bone, onions, a bayleaf, salt, and pepper, and a small teaspoon of nuoc-mam (fish sauce)."
There are two prevailing theories on the origin of the word phở and, by extension, the dish itself. As author Nguyễn Dư notes, both questions are significant to Vietnamese identity.
French settlers commonly ate beef, whereas Vietnamese traditionally ate pork and chicken and used cattle as beasts of burden. Gustave Hue (1937) equates cháo phở to the French beef stew pot-au-feu (literally, "pot on the fire"). Accordingly, Western sources generally maintain that phở is derived from pot-au-feu in both name and substance. However, several scholars dispute this etymology on the basis of the stark differences between the two dishes. Another suggestion of a separate origin is that phở in French has long been pronounced [fo] rather than [fø]: in Jean Tardieu's Lettre de Hanoï à Roger Martin Du Gard (1928), a soup vendor cries "Pho-ô!" in the street.
Many Hanoians explain that the word phở derives from French soldiers' ordering "feu" (fire) from gánh phở, referring to both the steam rising from a bowl of phở and the wood fire seen glowing from a gánh phở in the evening.
Food historian Erica J. Peters argues that the French have embraced phở in a way that overlooks its origins as a local improvisation, reinforcing "an idea that the French brought modern ingenuity to a traditionalist Vietnam".
Hue and Eugèn Gouin (1957) both define phở by itself as an abbreviation of lục phở. Elucidating on the 1931 dictionary, Gouin and Lê Ngọc Trụ (1970) both give lục phở as a corruption of ngưu nhục phấn (Chinese: 牛肉粉; Cantonese Yale: ngau4 yuk6 fan2; "cow meat noodles"), which was commonly sold by Chinese immigrants in Hanoi. ([ɲ] is an allophone of /l/ in some northern dialects of Vietnamese.)
Some scholars argue that phở (the dish) evolved from xáo trâu, a Vietnamese dish common in Hanoi at the turn of the century. Originally eaten by commoners near the Red River, it consisted of stir-fried strips of water buffalo meat served in broth atop rice vermicelli. Around 1908–1909, the shipping industry brought an influx of laborers. Vietnamese and Chinese cooks set up gánh to serve them xáo trâu but later switched to inexpensive scraps of beef set aside by butchers who sold to the French. Chinese vendors advertised this xáo bò by crying out, "Beef and noodles!" (Cantonese Yale: ngàuh yuhk fán; Vietnamese: ngưu nhục phấn). Eventually the street cry became "Meat and noodles!" (Chinese: 肉粉; Cantonese Yale: yuhk fán; Vietnamese: nhục phấn), with the last syllable elongated. Nguyễn Ngọc Bích suggests that the final "n" was eventually dropped because of the similar-sounding phẩn (traditional Chinese: 糞; simplified Chinese: 粪; "excrement"). The French author Jean Marquet refers to the dish as "Yoc feu!" in his 1919 novel Du village-à-la cité. This is likely what the Vietnamese poet Tản Đà calls "nhục-phở" in "Đánh bạc" ("Gambling"), written around 1915–1917.
Phở uses a common variety of Chinese rice noodle called ho fun, (traditional Chinese: 河粉; simplified Chinese: 河粉; Cantonese Yale: ho4 fen3) which is believed to have originated in the town of Shahe (Chinese: 沙河; pinyin: Shāhé; Jyutping: Sa1ho4*2), now part of the Tianhe District of Guangzhou in Guangdong province, southern China.[circular reference] The Cantonese also use the word (Chinese: 河; Cantonese Yale: ho4 ho4*2; "(Sha)he noodles") as well as (Chinese: 牛肉粉; Cantonese Yale: ngau4 yuk6 fan2; "cow meat noodles") to describe Phở. The two words share close approximation and could be a cognate of one another when considering varying regional and dialectical pronunciation differences.
Phở is served in a bowl with a specific cut of flat rice noodles in clear beef broth, with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature slow-cooked tendon, tripe, or meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using chicken bones and meat, as well as some internal organs of the chicken, such as the heart, the undeveloped eggs, and the gizzard.
When eating at phở stalls in Vietnam, customers are generally asked which parts of the beef they would like and how they want it done.
Beef parts including:
For chicken phở, options might include:
The thick dried rice noodle that is usually used is called bánh phở, but some versions may be made with freshly made rice noodles called bánh phở tươi in Vietnamese or kuay tiao. These noodles are labeled on packaging as bánh phở tươi (fresh pho noodles) in Vietnamese, 新鲜潮洲粿條 (fresh Chaozhou kuy teav) in Chinese, 월남 쌀 국수 (Vietnamese rice noodle) in Korean, and ก๋วยเตี๋ยวเส้นเล็ก (thin kuy teav) in Thai. The pho noodle are usually medium-width, however, people from different region of Vietnam will prefer different widths.
The soup for beef phở is generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Chicken bones also work and produce a similar broth. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use usually in stick form, sometimes in powder form in pho restaurant franchises overseas), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. The broth takes several hours to make. For chicken phở, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The remaining spices remain the same, but the charred ginger can be omitted, since its function in beef phở is to subdue the quite strong smell of beef.
The spices, often wrapped in cheesecloth or a soaking bag to prevent them from floating all over the pot, usually contain cloves, star anise, coriander seed, fennel, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger, and onion.
Careful cooks often roast ginger and onion over an open fire for about a minute before adding them to the stock, to bring out their full flavor. They also skim off all the impurities that float to the top while cooking; this is the key to a clear broth. Nước mắm (fish sauce) is added toward the end.
The Northern pho is typically served with scallion, onion and cilantro (coriander leaves). The Southern variant also adds Thai basil and bean sprouts. Thai chili peppers, lime wedges, fish sauce, chili oil, hot chili sauce (such as Sriracha sauce), pickled garlic (Northern style) or hoisin sauce (Southern style) may be added to taste as accompaniments.
Several ingredients not generally served with phở may be ordered by request. Extra-fatty broth (nước béo) can be ordered and comes with scallions to sweeten it. A popular side dish ordered upon request is hành dấm, or vinegared white onions.
The several regional variants of pho in Vietnam, particularly divided between "Northern phở" (phở Bắc) or "Hanoi phở" (phở Hà Nội), and "Southern phở" (phở Nam) or "Saigon pho" (phở Sài Gòn). Northern Vietnamese phở uses a savoury, clear broth, blanched whole green onion, and garnishes offered generally include only diced green onion and cilantro, pickled garlic, chili sauce and quẩy. The Northern pho is often described as subtle and light on spices, while having a deep savory taste from beef bones.  On the other hand, southern Vietnamese phở broth is sweeter and cloudier, and is consumed with bean sprouts, fresh sliced chili, hoisin sauce and a greater variety of fresh herbs. Phở may be served with either phở noodles or kuy teav noodles (hủ tiếu). The variations in meat, broth, and additional garnishes such as lime, bean sprouts, ngò gai (culantro), húng quế (Thai basil), and tương đen (hoisin sauce), tương ớt (chili sauce) appear to be innovations made by or introduced to the South. Another style of northern phở is Phở Nam Định from Nam Định city which uses more fish sauce in the broth and wider noodles. Other provincial variations exist where pho is served with delicacy meats other than beef or chicken such as duck, buffalo, goat or veal.
Phở has many variants including many dishes bearing the name "phở", many are not soup-based:
Vietnamese beef soup can also refer to bún bò Huế, which is a spicy beef noodle soup, is associated with Huế in central Vietnam.
Famous phở shops in Hanoi are Phở Bát Đàn, Phở Thìn Bờ Hồ, Phở Thìn Lò Đúc, Phở 10 Lý Quốc Sư. In 2016, BBC noted Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su to be among the best pho addresses in Vietnam. Phở Thìn Lò Đúc has also opened foreign branches in Australia, Japan and the U.S.
Famous phở shops in Saigon included Phở Bắc Hải, Phở Công Lý, Phở Tàu Bay, Phở Tàu Thủy, and Phở Bà Dậu. Pasteur Street (phố phở Pasteur) was a street famous for its beef phở, while Hien Vuong Street (phố phở Hiền Vương) was known for its chicken phở. At Phở Bình, American soldiers dined as Việt Cộng agents planned the Tết Offensive just upstairs. Nowadays in Ho Chi Minh City, well known restaurants include: Phở Hùng, Phở Hòa Pasteur and Phở 2000, which U.S. President Bill Clinton visited in 2000.
One of the largest phở chains in Vietnam is Pho 24, a subsidiary of Highlands Coffee, with 60 locations in Vietnam and 20 abroad.
The largest phở chain in the United States is Phở Hòa, which operates over 70 locations in seven countries. A similar restaurant named Pho 75 serves in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania areas in the United States. Numbers in the restaurant name are "lucky" numbers for the owners: culturally lucky numbers or to mark a date in Vietnam or their personal history.
Many phở restaurants in the United States offer oversized helpings with names such as "train phở" (phở xe lửa), "airplane phở" (phở tàu bay), or "California phở" (phở Ca Li). Some restaurants have offered a phở eating challenge, with prizes for finishing as much as 10 pounds (4.5 kg) of phở in one sitting, or have auctioned special versions costing $5,000.
"pho, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. March 2006.
"pho (British & World English)". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. Origin: Vietnamese, perhaps from French feu (in pot-au-feu)
"pho (American English)". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
"pho". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5 ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2011.
A soup of Vietnamese origin typically consisting of rice noodles, onions, herbs, seasonings, and thinly sliced beef or chicken in a clear broth.
"pho". Random House Dictionary. Random House. 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
"pho". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 23 August 2013.
Barber, Katherine, ed. (2005). "Pho". Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press Canada. ISBN 9780191735219.
Phở is made with small (1/16-inch-wide) linguine-shaped rice noodles labeled bánh phở.
A visit to Vietnam would never be complete, Lister said, without the taste of food on the street, including phở - beef noodle soup,...
Mobile phở was always sold by men, probably because the stockpot was too heavy for a woman to shoulder.
The history of Vietnam lies in this bowl, for it is in Hanoi, the Vietnamese heart, that phở was born, a combination of the rice noodles that predominated after a thousand years of Chinese occupation and the taste for ...
The soup that was presented to replace it was made of rotten rice noodles, a little bit of tough meat, and a tasteless broth. … As for the small street peddlers, they no longer had the right to sell pho, but instead, a vile soup in which there were noodles made of potato flour.
((cite news)): CS1 maint: others (link)
PHO is the name of an Annamese soup held in high esteem. It is made with beef, a veal bone, onions, a bayleaf, salt, and pepper, and a small teaspoon of nuoc-man [sic], a typically Annamese condiment which is used in practically all their dishes. It is made from a kind of brine exuding from decaying fish, and in former days six years were required before it had reached full maturity. But in modern times the preparation has been put on the market, and can be made by chemical processes in a very short time.
Tản Đà gọi nhục phấn là phục phơ. Chữ phấn chuyển qua phơ trước khi thành phở. Phơ của nhục phơ (chứ không phải feu của pot-au-feu) mới là tiền thân của phở.
Nguồn gốc của nó là món canh thịt trâu xáo hành răm ăn với bún. Bà con ta thường gọi là xáo trâu rất phổ biến ở các chợ nông thôn và các xóm bình dân ở Hà Nội.
Networks of Chinese and Vietnamese who cooked or butchered meat for the French most likely diverted beef remnants to street soup vendors …. By 1919, Jean Marquet reports hearing 'Yoc Pheu!' called out on the streets of Hanoi by Vietnamese selling beef soup …. Du village à la cité, Marquet's novel about Vietnamese urbanization and radicalism, …. may be the earliest use of the word in print, and the earliest effort to label phở a uniquely Vietnamese dish.
A soup of Vietnamese origin typically consisting of rice noodles, onions, herbs, seasonings, and thinly sliced beef or chicken in a clear broth.
Medium-wide noodles (known as rice fettuccine, ban pho, ho fun, haw fun, gway tio, kway teow, kui teow, lai fen and sen lek) are considered an all-purpose noodle. They're used in a wide variety of dishes (stir-frys, soups and salads) and as an accompaniment to meat dishes.
Upstairs above Pho Binh, the Tet offensive was planned and ordered to begin.
At lunch, for example, I'd often order pho at the renowned Pho Hoa Pasteur.