Beef Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)

Beef Pho 01


  • 3 quarts low-sodium beef stock
  • 3 quarts water
  • 5 tablespoons instant beef flavor paste (see photo above)
  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 13 1/2 ounces thin vermicelli-style rice noodles
  • 12 ounces bean sprouts
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stems removed
  • 3 ounces fresh basil, stems removed
  • 6 scallions, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • Fried garlic
  • Sriracha hot sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Other (optional) garnishes: sliced fresh jalapenos, lime wedges


  1. In a very large pot, heat the beef stock, water, and instant beef flavor paste over high heat until boiling (covering the pot with the lid will help it come up to temperature more quickly).
  2. While the liquid is heating up, cut the beef roast into 1-inch cubes, trimming and discarding the fat portions; add the meat to the pot. Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer for about 2 ½ hours, until the meat is very tender. There may be some dark colored scum that rises to the surface, especially during the first part of boiling; simply skim this off with a slotted spoon and discard. Stir in the fish sauce at the end of cooking.
  3. Just prior to mealtime, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. I usually place them in boiling water for 2 minutes until barely al dente, then drain using a colander (the cooking time may vary if you are using noodles of a different thickness).
  4. To serve, portion the cooked rice noodles into bowls (we often use medium-sized serving or mixing bowls since a regular cereal bowl is too small for our preference). Add in the desired amount of bean sprouts, cilantro, basil, scallions, fried garlic, and beef pieces, then ladle in enough broth to cover the contents of the bowl (about 4 cups of liquid). Top with Sriracha and hoisin sauce according to your taste. (As an alternative, you may serve pho in the more traditional manner by placing the noodles, meat, and broth in the bowls and serving the remaining garnishes on a side platter.)

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