Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

by Thi Khen Tran


  • The Broth: 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thick sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thick sliced
  • 8–10 slices ginger, with skin on
  • 15 cups water
  • 48 oz (large can/box) beef broth
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 whole star anise (not ground)
  • salt to taste
  • 5 lbs beef shank center cut, large pieces, trimmed of fat
  • Finish the Pho and Garnish:
  • 1 medium onion, thin sliced
  • 2 pkgs bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch of scallions
  • 2 bunches of cilantro
  • 1 package (16 oz) of Rice Noodles, Khen uses “Banh Pho”
  • Hoisin Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Fish sauce
Pho Bo (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup)

Randi Baird

Kehn ladles the hot broth through a paper towel to easily de-fat it. If you make the broth ahead of time and leave it to cool in the refrigerator, the fat will rise to the top, coagulate, and can be easily lifted from the broth.

Sauté sliced onion in deep soup pot, add garlic and ginger. Sauté until well browned.

Add water and beef broth (taste for strength). Add salt, pepper, and star anise. Bring to a boil. Add the meat, bring back to a boil for a minute, and then simmer for 2 hours uncovered.

When the meat is soft, remove it from the broth to a strainer. Set aside to cool. Cool the broth, and then pour it through a strainer lined with a piece of paper towel. The meat and broth may be refrigerated 1-3 days in separate containers. Take the me at and the broth out of the refrigerator. Skim the fat from the top of the broth. Begin to reheat the broth (not the meat!) and add the onion slices
to it. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to simmer immediately. Slice the meat into thin slices, 2’’ or 3’’ long and set aside. Rinse the bean sprouts and dry them in a salad spinner. Set aside.

Rinse and sort your scallions and cilantro (cilantro can be broken up into single or double stems) and chop (rough cut) together in a bunch. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a medium pasta pot. Put in the rice noodles. Stir and cook for 6 minutes. Then remove to a colander. (If not using right away, you may have to run warm water over them to loosen them up before serving).

Set out your soup bowls and put a handful (roughly 1 cup) of bean sprouts into each one, followed by portions of the noodles, scallions, cilantro and 5 or 6 slices of meat. Now ladle the broth over the top to fill bowls. You or your family and guests may add a spoonful of Hoisin sauce, a few drops of Sriracha, and a tablespoon of fish sauce to their individual bowls, if they like.

Serves 12 as a main course