Vietnamese Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

beef noodle soup

If you are a fan of Vietnamese food or you have been in Vietnam before, there is no doubt that you already had their traditional dish known as ‘Pho Bo’. Basically, this is a noodle soup with beef. It sounds simple, but mind you, it is so good! Why do you think many people all over the world are in love with Pho Bo?

Although this food is available at almost all Vietnamese restaurants worldwide, have you ever thought about learning how to make it? This recipe would be a great addition to your list. And besides, it would be nice to know different cuisines.

What’s in Pho Bo?

Like what we have said above, Pho Bo is the iconic beef noodle soup in Vietnam. The noodles themselves are chewy and the broth is savory. And when it comes to the beef, oh my goodness! You won’t be able to resist the tenderness and tastiness. Not to mention the garnishes that make the soup even more flavorful and really interesting.

Served hot, this beef noodle soup would definitely warm you up on a cold day. You can even make it ahead of time, put it in a microwaveable container, take it to work, and just reheat eat when it’s lunchtime.

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beef noodle soup

Vietnamese Pho Bo (Beef Noodle Soup)

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  • Author: Myles
  • Total Time: 6 hours and 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Have a taste of the authentic Pho Bo made with broth simmered for long hours and served with beef slices and other toppings that make it aromatic and rich in flavor.



5 lbs. veal knuckle

2 lbs beef oxtail (lean, stewed, and salted)

1/2 lb. bee top sirloin

1 raw radish

2 raw onions

2 oz. whole star anise

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

1 slice raw ginger root

1 tbsp. each granulated sugar, table salt, and fish sauce

1 1/2 lb. rice noodle


1 tbsp. pepper or hot sauce

1/4 c. hoisin sauce

1 raw onion

1 c. each raw cilantro and fresh bean sprouts

fresh basil

2 tbsp scallions

2 raw lime


  1. In a large pot, season the beef knuckle with salt, add 2 gallons of water, and boil for about 2 hours.
  2. Add the radish, onions, and oxtail.
  3. Put the star anise, cinnamon stick, ginger, peppercorns, and cloves in a spice bag and add to the soup.
  4. Add the sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Let it simmer for at least 4 hours. Add more salt if needed.
  5. Discard spices as well as the bones.
  6. In a separate pot, boil water with a little bit of salt. While you are waiting for the water to boil, soak the noodles in water.
  7. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook for about 5 minutes.
  8. Slice the frozen beef thinly.
  9. In a bowl, put some noddles, raw beef slices, and broth. Top with onions, basil, cilantro, and bean sprouts.
  10. Serve with lime, sriracha sauce, and hoisin sauce on the side.


Make sure not to overcook the noodles. 5 minutes should be enough. The longer the broth is simmered, the better.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Category: Soup/Broth
  • Method: Boiling
  • Cuisine: Vietnamese

Is There a ‘Short-Cut’?

It takes hours to make Pho Bo, mainly because of how the broth is cooked. But really, this beef noodle soup is all about the broth. That’s the best part. It’s where the flavor comes from. Plus, of course, the toppings.

pho bo

If you are in a hurry, though, you can take the short-cut. You can just simmer the spices for half an hour and it should be good. But if I were you, and you have the luxury of time to prepare lunch, following the original preparation steps would still be the best.

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