Discovering Uncommon Types of Pho Dishes

5/5 - (7 votes)

As a lover of Vietnamese cuisine, I have always been fascinated by the rich flavors and aroma of Pho. In this blog, I want to share my personal experience and knowledge about the different types of pho

From the traditional Northern and Southern styles to the unique Vegetarian and Fusion Pho, I will explore the origins, ingredients, and flavors of each variation. Whether you’re a Pho enthusiast or a curious foodie, this blog will take you on a delicious journey through the world of Pho.

What is pho?

What is pho 683x1024
What is pho?

Pho is a Vietnamese soup that has gained worldwide popularity for its aromatic broth, tender noodles, and savory toppings. It is typically made with beef or chicken broth and served with rice noodles, herbs, bean sprouts, and lime wedges. 

Pho has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century when it was introduced as a portion of street food in Northern Vietnam. Today, it is a staple dish in Vietnamese cuisine and is enjoyed by food enthusiasts around the globe.

Read more: The Most Delicious Vietnamese Breakfast Foods To Try

How many different pho?

How many different pho 1024x683
How many different pho?

Do you know “how many different pho?” There are many different types of pho, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. From the traditional Northern and Southern-style Pho to the vegetarian and fusion variations, there is a Pho to suit every taste. 

Other regional variations include Hue-style Pho, Saigon-style Pho, and Hanoi-style Pho. Whether you prefer your Pho with beef, chicken, seafood, or tofu, there is a delicious bowl of Pho waiting to be savored.

So, there is no definitive answer to the exact number of different types of pho, as it can vary based on factors such as region and personal preferences. However, it’s estimated that there are over 20 variations of pho commonly found throughout Vietnam.

What types of pho are there?

What types of pho are there
What types of pho are there?

There are several different types of pho, each with its own unique characteristics and flavors. Some of the most popular pho type include:

Northern-style pho

Known for its simple yet flavorful broth, Northern-style pho typically features wider noodles and less meat than other varieties.

Southern-style pho

Southern-style pho features a sweeter, spicier broth and is often served with a wider range of toppings, including more herbs and vegetables.

Central-style pho

Central-style pho is a hybrid of the Northern and Southern styles, featuring a clear, rich broth and a balance of meat and noodles.

Vegetarian pho

Made with vegetable broth and a variety of plant-based protein sources, such as tofu and mushrooms, Vegetarian pho is a flavorful and nutritious option for vegetarians and vegans.

Fusion pho 

Fusion pho blends traditional pho with other cuisines, such as Japanese, Thai, or Korean. It often includes unique ingredients and flavors, such as kimchi or miso broth.

Other regional variations

Other regional variations of pho include Hue-style pho, which is known for its spicy and complex broth; Saigon-style pho, which features a sweeter broth and more herbs; and Hanoi-style pho, which typically includes more fatty cuts of beef in the broth.

Each pho noodles type has its own distinct flavor profile, and trying different varieties is a great way to experience the versatility and complexity of this beloved Vietnamese dish.

Tips and tricks to cook pho success

Tips and tricks to cook pho success 1 819x1024
Tips and tricks to cook pho success

Cooking pho can be a challenging task, but with the right tips and tricks, you can achieve success and create a delicious bowl of pho. Here are some tips to help you cook pho like a pro:

  • Use quality ingredients, including fresh herbs, high-quality meat, and authentic Pho noodles.
  • Make sure to skim the broth to remove impurities and achieve a clear broth.
  • Toasting the spices before adding them to the broth can enhance the flavor.
  • Cook the broth low and slow to extract maximum flavor.
  • Add fish sauce and sugar to balance the flavors of the broth.
  • Customize your toppings and condiments to your taste.
  • Serve the Pho hot and fresh.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious bowl of pho that will impress your family and friends.

How to eat pho properly?

Eating pho is more than just slurping noodles; it’s a cultural experience. Here are some tips on how to eat pho properly:

Choosing the right noodles

Pho noodles type come in different types, including fresh and dried. The best type of pho noodles is fresh and should be soft, yet firm.

The role of broth

The broth is the heart of pho and should be sipped slowly to savor the flavor. Use a spoon and chopsticks to combine the noodles, meat, and broth.

Toppings and condiments

Traditional toppings and condiments for pho will include bean sprouts, basil, lime, and a variety of flavorful pho sauces. These sauces, such as hoisin sauce and sriracha, are essential for enhancing the taste and adding a touch of tanginess and spiciness to the dish. Unconventional toppings, such as sliced chili pepper, can also add a delightful and unexpected twist to your pho experience.

Where can you buy types of pho?

If you’re looking to buy pho, there are several places where you can find this delicious soup:

  • Vietnamese restaurants: Most Vietnamese restaurants offer pho on their menu, and you can try different variations of the soup.
  • Asian grocery stores: Many Asian grocery stores sell pre-packaged Pho broth, noodles, and other ingredients that you can use to make pho at home.
  • Online stores: There are several online stores that specialize in Vietnamese cuisine and sell pho ingredients and packaged pho.
  • Food delivery services: Some food delivery services, such as Grubhub or Uber Eats, offer pho delivery from local Vietnamese restaurants.

By exploring these options, you can satisfy your Pho cravings and enjoy this delicious soup from the comfort of your home.

How much is a serving of pho?

The cost of a serving of pho can vary depending on several factors, including the location, restaurant, and type of pho. On average, a serving of pho can cost anywhere between $8 to $15 in the United States. 

Some restaurants may offer larger portions or premium ingredients, which can increase the price of the dish. Additionally, the cost of pho may also vary in different parts of the world. 

However, the price of pho is generally considered affordable and provides excellent value for the quality and taste of the dish.

Read more: How to Make Hu Tieu Nam Vang Noodles at Home?


How do I pronounce “pho”?

“Pho” is pronounced as “fuh” or “f-uh”. The word is actually derived from the French dish “pot-au-feu,” which means “pot on the fire.” 

However, the Vietnamese pronunciation has evolved to be different from the original French term, and it is now commonly pronounced as “fuh” in the English language.

Is pho gluten-free?

Pho can be gluten-free, depending on the ingredients used in the broth and noodles. The traditional pho broth is made with beef bones, spices, and water, which are naturally gluten-free. However, some commercial pho broths may contain soy sauce or other ingredients that may contain gluten. 

The noodles used in pho are typically made from rice flour, which is also gluten-free. However, it’s essential to check the label or ask the restaurant if the noodles are made from 100% rice flour and do not contain any wheat flour or other gluten-containing ingredients. 

Some restaurants may also offer gluten-free options for pho, such as using gluten-free noodles or broth. If you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it’s always best to confirm the gluten-free status of the pho before consuming it.

How many calories are in a bowl of pho?

The number of calories in a bowl of pho can vary depending on the type and serving size. A typical bowl of pho contains between 300 and 500 calories, with broth being the main source of calories. 

The amount of meat and noodles in the bowl can also affect the calorie count. For example, a bowl of pho with beef and noodles may contain around 350 to 450 calories, while a bowl of vegetarian pho may contain around 250 to 350 calories. 

Adding extra toppings or condiments, such as hoisin sauce or Sriracha, can also increase the calorie count. It’s always a good idea to check with the restaurant or refer to a nutrition guide for an accurate estimate of the calorie count in a specific bowl of pho.

What kind of meat is traditionally used in pho?

The traditional meat used in pho is beef, specifically beef bones, which are used to make broth. The bones are simmered for several hours with spices and aromatics to create a rich, flavorful broth. 

The meat that is served with pho can vary, but the most common cuts include rare or cooked beef slices, beef meatballs, and beef tendon. Chicken is another option and is used to make chicken pho, also known as “pho ga”. 

Vegetarian and vegan pho typically use plant-based proteins, such as tofu or mushrooms, in place of meat.

What are the health benefits of eating pho?

Pho can offer several health benefits, as it is a nutritious and flavorful dish that contains a variety of healthy ingredients. Some of the potential health benefits of eating Pho include:

  • Nutritious Broth: Pho broth is made by simmering bones, spices, and herbs, which can release important nutrients and minerals such as collagen, protein, calcium, and potassium.
  • Rich in Protein: Pho typically contains a protein source, such as beef, chicken, or tofu, which can help support muscle growth and repair.
  • Low in Fat: Pho is a relatively low-fat dish, with most of the fat coming from the broth and meat. Choosing leaner cuts of meat can make Pho even healthier.
  • High in Fiber: Pho contains vegetables such as bean sprouts and herbs, which are high in fiber and can promote digestive health.
  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: The spices and herbs used in pho, such as ginger, coriander, and star anise, have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce inflammation in the body.

Pho can be a healthy and flavorful dish that provides a range of nutrients and potential health benefits. However, it’s essential to be mindful of portion sizes and choose leaner cuts of meat to keep the dish balanced and healthy.

How spicy is pho?

Pho can vary in spiciness, depending on the recipe and the preference of the person making it. Some pho recipes are mild and have little to no spice, while others can be quite spicy. The level of spiciness typically comes from the addition of chili peppers or chili sauce, which can be added to the broth or served as a condiment on the side. 

It’s always a good idea to ask the server or chef about the spiciness level of the pho dish before ordering, especially if you are sensitive to spice or prefer a milder flavor. 

If you’re making pho at home, you can adjust the spiciness level by adding more or fewer chili peppers or sauce to the broth or adjusting the amount of hot sauce you use as a condiment.

How long does pho broth keep in the fridge?

Pho broth can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To ensure the broth stays fresh, it’s essential to store it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge as soon as it has cooled down. When reheating the broth, make sure to bring it to a full boil before consuming it to ensure that any bacteria has been killed. 

If you need to store pho broth for a longer period, it’s best to freeze it. Frozen pho broth can last for up to 3 months in the freezer. To defrost frozen broth, simply place it in the refrigerator and allow it to thaw overnight.

How do I reheat pho?

To reheat pho, follow these simple steps:

  • Transfer the pho broth and any leftover ingredients to a pot or saucepan.
  • Heat the broth on medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Do not let it boil, as this can overcook the meat and noodles.
  • If the pho has become too thick or concentrated in the fridge, you can add a small amount of water to the pot to thin it out.
  • Once the broth is hot and simmering, add the noodles and meat and continue to simmer for a few more minutes until they are heated through.
  • Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove.
  • Serve the pho hot, with any desired toppings and condiments.

Alternatively, you can reheat pho in the microwave, but this method may result in uneven heating or overcooked noodles. To reheat pho in the microwave, transfer it to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until it reaches the desired temperature.

What is the difference between pho and ramen?

Pho and Ramen are two popular noodle soups that originate from different countries and have distinct differences in their ingredients and flavors.

  • Pho is a Vietnamese soup made with a clear, flavorful broth that is typically made from beef bones, spices, and herbs. The broth is served with thin rice noodles and a variety of toppings, including meat (usually beef), bean sprouts, herbs, and lime wedges. Pho typically has a light, refreshing flavor, and is known for its aromatic herbs and spices.
  • Ramen, on the other hand, is a Japanese soup made with a thicker, richer broth that is typically made from pork or chicken bones. The broth is served with wheat noodles and a variety of toppings, including sliced pork, seaweed, bamboo shoots, and boiled eggs. Ramen typically has a savory, umami flavor and is known for its thick, chewy noodles.

While both Pho and Ramen are noodle soups that feature a variety of toppings, the main differences lie in the broth and noodles. Pho is typically lighter and more aromatic, while Ramen is thicker and more savory. Additionally, pho is made with rice noodles, while Ramen is made with wheat noodles.

What are some popular pho chains in the US?

There are several popular pho chains in the US, including:

  • Pho Hoa: A California-based chain that has locations in several states across the country. They offer a variety of pho options, as well as other Vietnamese dishes.
  • Pho 79: A Southern California-based chain that has been serving pho since 1982. They are known for their flavorful pho broth and generous portions.
  • Pho Tai: A Texas-based chain that offers a variety of pho options, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. They are known for their fresh ingredients and friendly service.
  • Pho Kim Long: A Las Vegas-based chain that has been serving pho for over 30 years. They offer a variety of pho options, as well as other Vietnamese dishes.
  • Pho Saigon: A New York-based chain that offers a variety of pho options, as well as other Vietnamese dishes. They are known for their large portions and affordable prices.

These are just a few examples of popular pho chains in the US. However, there are many other local and regional pho restaurants that are worth exploring as well.


Taking all of this into account, exploring the world of pho has been a delightful experience. We have delved into the origins, ingredients, and flavors of different types of pho, including the traditional Northern and Southern style, Vegetarian and Fusion pho, and other regional variations. 

I have also learned how to choose the right noodles, balance the flavors of the broth, and customize the toppings and condiments to our liking. Whether you’re a pho enthusiast or a curious foodie, there is always something new to discover in the world of pho. 

So, the next time you have the opportunity, be sure to savor a hot and delicious bowl of pho.

Alex Au Yeung
Alex Au Yeung

With a passion for food and travel, Alex Au Yeung shares his culinary experiences and recommendations with his readers. Through his writing, he aims to showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Vietnamese and Asian cuisine to a wider audience.