What is "Pho"?
Pho is a very rich, very aromatic popular Vietnamese noodle soup made with beef, bean sprouts, basil, lime and various spices in a long-simmered broth. Some pho is made with chicken. The word "pho" sounds close to the sound "phuh" to English speakers and the "ph" is said as the /f/ sound. Pho can be made in more than 20 variations, but always has either a flavorful beef broth a chicken broth base.
Pho is thought to have been first created in northern Vietnam in the early 1950s. The rich, aromatic pho broth is prepared by boiling the beef or chicken bones for hours along with spices such as ginger, cloves, star anise and cinnamon. Cardamom is also sometimes used in the broth. Sliced beef or pieces of chicken, vegetables and seasonings prepare the pho for the table.
Pho is served with side dishes of additional items to add such as lemon or lime, bean sprouts, chili and basil leaves. Sauces such as fish sauce, spicy chili sauce, and hoisin sauce, a thick dark bean sauce, often accompany pho. Pho is usually eaten with both chopsticks and a spoon, as pho lovers want to be sure to enjoy every drop of the rich and satisfying broth. Pho is perfect for any time of the day, lunch or dinner. In Vietnam, Pho is often served for breakfast.
Since 1975, after the fall of Saigon, this noodle dish has spread its wings all the way across the world through the many Vietnamese restaurants that have mushroomed in various countries. Unlike many other hugely popular noodle-and-broth dishes, which seem to be popping up on many other types of restaurant, pho is more of a layered, specialty dish wrapped in ritual and found only in authentic Vietnamese restaurants. It can now be found in every Vietnamese neighborhood in many countries, and is often used to name a Vietnamese restaurant, with the addition of the street name where the restaurant is located at, a noun, or simply with someone's name, such as "Pho Quyen".