What Does Pho In Vietnamese Mean?

Person preparing fresh vegetables and fruit at an outdoor table next to a garden, inspired by the flavors of pho from Vietnam.

Pho is a popular Vietnamese dish that has gained worldwide recognition for its delicious and flavorful broth, tender noodles, and fresh herbs. But have you ever wondered what the word “pho” actually means in Vietnamese?

In Vietnamese, “pho” is actually a transliteration of the word “phở,” which refers to the type of noodle used in the dish. Phở is a type of flat rice noodle that is typically used in soups and stir-fried dishes in Vietnamese cuisine. The word “pho” is often used to refer to the entire dish of pho soup, but in reality, it specifically refers to the noodles themselves.

Pho soup is traditionally made by simmering beef or chicken bones, onions, ginger, and aromatic spices for hours to create a rich and flavorful broth. The cooked pho noodles are then added to the broth along with thinly sliced meat, such as beef or chicken, and garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro, Thai basil, and bean sprouts. Lime wedges, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce are often served on the side for added flavor.

The origins of pho can be traced back to Northern Vietnam, where it is believed to have been influenced by both Chinese and French culinary traditions. Pho has since become a beloved staple in Vietnamese cuisine and is enjoyed by people all over the world.

If you’ve never tried pho before, be sure to visit a Vietnamese restaurant and order a steaming bowl of this delicious and comforting soup. With its complex flavors and fresh ingredients, pho is sure to become one of your new favorite dishes.

How to Make Pho at Home

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try making pho at home, here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


– 2 lbs beef bones

– 1 onion, peeled and halved

– 1 3-inch piece of ginger, sliced

– 4 star anise

– 2 cinnamon sticks

– 4 cloves

– 1 tbsp coriander seeds

– 1 tbsp salt

– 1 tbsp sugar

– 1 lb pho noodles

– 1 lb thinly sliced beef eye round

– Fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce for garnish


1. In a large pot, add the beef bones and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse the bones under cold water.

2. Char the onion and ginger over an open flame or in a dry skillet until fragrant.

3. In a clean pot, add the bones, onion, ginger, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander seeds, salt, and sugar. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 hours.

4. Cook the pho noodles according to the package instructions and divide among serving bowls.

5. Top the noodles with the thinly sliced beef and ladle the hot broth over the top.

6. Serve with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, chili sauce, and hoisin sauce on the side.

Now that you know what “pho” means in Vietnamese and how to make this delicious soup at home, you can enjoy the flavors of Vietnam in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a pho aficionado or a first-time taster, this iconic dish is sure to satisfy your taste buds and warm your soul.