|Place of origin:|
|Region or state:|
|Hanoi, Nam Định Province|
|Rice noodles, beef or chicken|
|Recipes at Wikibooks:|
|Media at Wikimedia Commons:|
Pho (pronounced variously as //, //, //, or //; Vietnamese: phở, pronounced [fəː˧˩˧] ( )) is a Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, linguine-shaped rice noodles, a few herbs, and meat. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and the specialty of a number of restaurant chains around the world. Pho is primarily served with either beef or chicken. The Hanoi and Saigon styles of pho differ by noodle width, sweetness of broth, and choice of herbs. The origin of pho and its name is a subject of scholarly debate.
Pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam, apparently southeast of Hanoi in Nam Định Province, then a substantial textile market. The traditional home of pho is reputed to be the villages of Vân Cù and Dao Cù (or Giao Cù) in Đông Xuân commune, Nam Trực District, Nam Định Province. According to villagers, pho was eaten in Vân Cù long before the French colonial period when it was popularized.
Pho was originally sold at dawn and dusk by roaming street vendors, who shouldered mobile kitchens on carrying poles (gánh phở). From the pole hung two wooden cabinets, one housing a cauldron over a wood fire, the other storing noodles, spices, cookware, and space to prepare a bowl of pho. Pho vendors kept their heads warm with distinctive, disheveled felt hats called mũ phở.
Hanoi's first two fixed pho stands were a Vietnamese-owned Cát Tường on Cầu Gỗ Street and a Chinese-owned stand in front of Bờ Hồ tram stop. They were joined in 1918 by two more on Quạt Row and Đồng Row. Around 1925, a Vân Cù villager named Vạn opened the first "Nam Định style" pho stand in Hanoi. Gánh phở declined in number around 1936–1946 in favor of stationary eateries.
In the late 1920s, various vendors experimented with húng lìu (a seasoning made of ground cinnamon, star anise, thảo quả, and clove), sesame oil, tofu, and even Lethocerus indicus extract (cà cuống). This "phở cải lương" failed to enter the mainstream.
Phở tái, served with beef cooked rare, had been introduced by 1930. Chicken pho appeared in 1939, possibly because beef was not sold at the markets on Mondays and Fridays at the time.
With the Partition of Vietnam in 1954, over a million people fled North Vietnam for the South. Pho, previously unpopular in the South, suddenly took off. No longer confined to northern culinary traditions, variations in meat and broth appeared, and additional garnishes, such as lime, bean sprouts, culantro (ngò gai), cinnamon basil (húng quế), and Hoisin sauce (tương đen), became standard fare. Phở tái also began to rival fully cooked phở chín in popularity.
Meanwhile, in North Vietnam, private pho restaurants were nationalized (mậu dịch quốc doanh) and began serving pho noodles made from old rice, while street vendors were expected to use noodles made of imported potato flour.
During the so-called "subsidy period" after the War, state-owned pho eateries served a meatless variety of the dish known as "pilotless pho" (phở không người lái), in reference to the U.S. military's unmanned reconnaissance drones. The broth consisted of boiled water with MSG added for taste, as there were often shortages on various foodstuffs like meat and rice during that period. Bread or cold rice was often served as a side dish, leading to the present-day practice of dipping quẩy in pho.
In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Vietnamese refugees brought pho to many countries. Restaurants specializing in pho appeared in numerous Asian enclaves and Little Saigons, such as in Paris and in major cities in Canada, the United States, and Australia.
In the United States, pho began to enter the mainstream during the 1990s, as relations between the U.S. and Vietnam improved. At that time Vietnamese restaurants began opening quickly in Texas and California, spreading rapidly along the Gulf and West Coasts, as well as the East Coast and the rest of the country. During the 2000s, pho restaurants in the United States generated $500 million in annual revenue, according to an unofficial estimate. Pho can now be found in cafeterias at many college and corporate campuses, especially on the West Coast.
Etymology and origins
Reviews of 19th and 20th century Indochinese literature have found that pho entered the mainstream sometime in the 1910s. Georges Dumoutier's extensive 1907 account of Vietnamese cuisine omits any mention of pho, while Nguyễn Công Hoan recalls its sale by street vendors in 1913. A 1931 dictionary is the first to define phở as a soup: "from the word phấn. A dish consisting of small slices of rice cake boiled with beef."
Possibly the earliest English-language reference to pho was in the book Recipes of All Nations, edited by Countess Morphy in 1935. In the book, pho is described as "an Annamese soup held in high esteem ... made with beef, a veal bone, onions, a bayleaf, salt, and pepper, and a small teaspoon of nuoc-mam."
There are two prevailing theories on the origin of the word phở and, by extension, the dish itself. As author Nguyễn Dư notes, both questions are significant to Vietnamese identity.
French settlers commonly ate beef, whereas Vietnamese traditionally ate pork and chicken and used cattle as beasts of burden. Gustave Hue (1937) equates cháo phở to the French beef stew pot-au-feu (literally, "pot on the fire"). Accordingly, Western sources generally maintain that phở is derived from pot-au-feu in both name and substance. However, various scholars dispute this etymology on the basis of the stark differences between the two dishes. Ironically, pho has long been pronounced [fo] in French: in Jean Tardieu's Lettre de Hanoï à Roger Martin Du Gard (1928), a soup vendor cries "Pho-ô!" in the street.
Many Hanoians explain that the word phở derives from French soldiers' ordering "feu" (fire) from gánh phở, referring to both the steam rising from a bowl of pho and the wood fire seen glowing from a gánh phở in the evening.
Food historian Erica J. Peters argues that the French have embraced pho in a way that overlooks its origins as a local improvisation, reinforcing "an idea that the French brought modern ingenuity to a traditionalist Vietnam".
Hue and Eugèn Gouin (1957) both define phở by itself as an abbreviation of lục phở. Elucidating on the 1931 dictionary, Gouin and Lê Ngọc Trụ (1970) both give lục phở as a corruption of ngưu nhục phấn (Chinese: 牛肉粉; Cantonese Yale: ngau4 yuk6 fan2; literally: "cow meat noodles"), which was commonly sold by Chinese immigrants in Hanoi.
Some scholars argue that pho (the dish) evolved from xáo trâu, a Vietnamese dish common in Hanoi at the turn of the century. Originally eaten by commoners near the Red River, it consisted of stir fried strips of water buffalo meat served in broth atop rice vermicelli. Around 1908–1909, the shipping industry brought an influx of laborers. Vietnamese and Chinese cooks set up gánh to serve them xáo trâu but later switched to inexpensive scraps of beef set aside by butchers who sold to the French. Chinese vendors advertised this xáo bò by crying out, "Beef and noodles!" (Cantonese Yale: ngau4 yuk6 fan2; Vietnamese: ngưu nhục phấn). Eventually the street cry became "Meat and noodles!" (Chinese: 肉粉; Cantonese Yale: yuk6 fan2; Vietnamese: nhục phấn), with the last syllable elongated. The French author Jean Marquet spells it "Yoc feu!" in his 1919 novel Du village-à-la cité. This is likely what the Vietnamese poet Tản Đà calls "nhục phơ" in "Đánh bạc" ("Gambling"), written around 1915–1917.
Ingredients and preparation
Pho is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, or meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using only chicken bones and meat, as well as some internal organs of the chicken, such as the heart, the undeveloped eggs and the gizzard.
The broth for beef pho is generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Chicken bones also work and produce a similar broth. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use usually in stick form, sometimes in powder form in Pho restaurant franchises overseas), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. The broth takes several hours to make. For chicken pho, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The remaining spices remain the same, but the charred ginger can be omitted, since its function in beef pho is to subdue the quite strong smell of beef.
The spices, often wrapped in cheesecloth or soaking bag to prevent them from floating all over the pot, usually contain: clove, star anise, coriander seed, fennel, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger and onion.
Careful cooks often roast ginger and onion over an open fire for about a minute before adding them to the stock, to bring out their full flavor. They also skim off all the impurities that float to the top while cooking; this is the key to a clear broth. Nước mắm (fish sauce) is added toward the end.
Vietnamese dishes are meals typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables, and various other accompaniments, such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice; it may also be served with hoisin sauce. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, Thai basil (not to be confused with sweet basil), fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts, and cilantro (coriander leaves) or culantro. Fish sauce, hoisin sauce and sriracha, a chili sauce, may be added to taste as accompaniments.
Several ingredients not generally served with pho may be ordered by request. Extra-fatty broth (nước béo) can be ordered and comes with scallions to sweeten it. A popular side dish ordered upon request is hành dấm, or vinegared white onions.
The several regional variants of pho in Vietnam, particularly divided between northern (Hanoi, are called phở bắc or "northern pho"), and southern pho (Saigon, called phở Sài Gòn). Northern pho tends to use somewhat wider noodles and much more green onion, and garnishes offered generally include only vinegar, fish sauce and chili sauce. On the other hand, southern Vietnamese pho broth is slightly sweeter and has bean sprouts and a greater variety of fresh herbs. The variations in meat, broth, and additional garnishes such as lime, bean sprouts, ngò gai (Eryngium foetidum), húng quế (Thai/Asian basil), and tương đen (bean sauce/hoisin sauce), tương ớt (hot chili garlic sauce, e.g., Rooster Sauce) appear to be innovations made by or introduced to the south, also called Pho Sai Gon ("Saigon Style" Pho).
International variants include pho made using tofu and vegetable broth for vegetarians (phở chay), and a larger variety of vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli.
In Ho Chi Minh City, well known restaurants include Phở Hòa Pasteur; Phở 2000, which U.S. President Bill Clinton visited in 2000; Phở Ta, owned by Madame Nguyễn Cao Kỳ; and Phở Bình, where American soldiers dined as Việt Cộng agents planned the Tết Offensive just upstairs.
One of the largest restaurant chains in Vietnam is Pho 24, a subsidiary of Highlands Coffee, with 60 locations in Vietnam and 20 abroad. The largest pho chain in the United States is Phở Hòa, with over 70 locations in seven countries.
Aside from pho, many other Vietnamese dishes make use of pho noodles, including stir-fried pho (phở xào), sauteed pho (phở áp chào), and sour pho (phở chua). Other popular Vietnamese noodle dishes include bún riêu, bún bò Huế, bún chả, hủ tiếu, bún thịt nướng, and mì Quảng.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to:|
|Wikibooks Cookbook has a recipe/module on|
"pho (British & World English)". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 August 2013. "a type of Vietnamese soup, typically made from beef stock and spices to which noodles and thinly sliced beef or chicken are added. Origin: Vietnamese, perhaps from French feu (in pot-au-feu)"
"pho". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5 ed.). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 2011. "A soup of Vietnamese origin typically consisting of rice noodles, onions, herbs, seasonings, and thinly sliced beef or chicken in a clear broth."
- Scripter, Sami; Yang, Sheng (2009). Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America. University of Minnesota Press. p. 25. ISBN 1452914516. "Phở is made with small (1/16-inch-wide) linguine-shaped rice noodles labeled ‘bánh phở’."
- Thanh Nien staff (3 February 2012). "Vietnamese street food a gourmet’s delight". Thanh Nien News. Retrieved 15 October 2012. "A visit to Vietnam would never be complete, Lister said, without the taste of food on the street, including phở - beef noodle soup,..."
- Nguyen, Andrea Q. "History of Pho Noodle Soup". San Jose Mercury News, reprinted at Viet World Kitchen. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- Nguyễn Ngọc Tiến (2 August 2011). "Phở Hà Nội" [Hanoi Pho]. Hànộimới (in Vietnamese) (Communist Party Committee of Hanoi). Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- An Chi (2010-06-15). "Lai lịch của món phở và tên gọi của nó" [Origin of the phở dish and its name]. An Ninh Thế Giới (in Vietnamese) (Vietnam Ministry of Public Security). Retrieved 2013-05-18.
- Nguyễn Dư (February 2001). "Phở, phởn, phịa ..." [Pho, euphoria, innovation...]. Chim Việt Cành Nam (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 18 May 2013.
- Bùi Minh Đức (2009). "Tô phở Bắc và đọi bún bò Huế trên bình diện văn hóa đối chiếu" [‘Phở’ of the North and Beef Noodle of Huế as Compared Under a Cultural View]. Tạp chí Nghiên cứu và Phát triển (in Vietnamese) 1 (72). ISSN 1859-0152.
- Trịnh Quang Dũng (15 January 2010). "Phở muôn màu muôn vẻ" [Pho has ten thousand colors and ten thousand styles]. Báo Khoa Học Phổ Thông (in Vietnamese) (Ho Chi Minh City Union of Science and Technology Associations). Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- Trịnh Quang Dũng (8 January 2010). "Khởi nguồn của phở" [Origins of pho]. Báo Khoa Học Phổ Thông (in Vietnamese) (Ho Chi Minh City Union of Science and Technology Associations). Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Thanh Nguyên (July 2012). "Phá xang" [Roasted peanuts]. Lớp học Vui vẻ (in Vietnamese) (14): 57. Retrieved 3 December 2013. "Húng lìu cũng giống như gia vị ngũ vị hương mà chúng ta thường dùng để nấu thịt, tuy nhiên húng lìu thông thường có 4 vị là: quế, hồi, thảo quả, đinh hương."
- Thạch Lam (1943). " Phụ thêm vào phở [Adding to pho]" (in Vietnamese). Hà Nội băm sáu phố phường [Hanoi: 36 streets and districts]. Đời Nay Publishing House. Wikisource.
- "A Bowl of Pho", San Francisco Chronicle, November 1997
- Gibb, Camilla (2011). The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novel. p. 4. "The history of Vietnam lies in this bowl, for it is in Hanoi, the Vietnamese heart, that phở was born, a combination of the rice noodles that predominated after a thousand years of Chinese occupation and the taste for ..."
- Xuan Phuong; Mazingarbe, Danièle (2004) . Myers, Jonathan E., ed. Ao Dai: My War, My Country, My Vietnam. Translated by Lynn M. Bensimon. Great Neck, New York: Emquad International. pp. 169–170. ISBN 0-9718406-2-8. "The soup that was presented to replace it was made of rotten rice noodles, a little bit of tough meat, and a tasteless broth. … As for the small street peddlers, they no longer had the right to sell pho, but instead, a vile soup in which there were noodles made of potato flour."
- Peters, Erica J. (2010). "Defusing Phở: Soup Stories and Ethnic Erasures, 1919–2009". Contemporary French and Francophone Studies 14 (2): 159–167. doi:10.1080/17409291003644255.
- Hoàng Linh (March 5, 2009). "Tản mạn về Phở" [Ramblings about Phở]. BBC Vietnamese (in Vietnamese). Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Thanh Thảo (19 August 2012). "Từ bát phở 'không người lái'" [From a bowl of pho, 'no pilot']. Thanh Nien (in Vietnamese) (Vietnam United Youth League). Retrieved 19 May 2013.
- Trịnh Quang Dũng (22 January 2010). "Phở theo thời cuộc" [Pho in the present day]. Báo Khoa Học Phổ Thông (in Vietnamese) (Ho Chi Minh City Union of Science and Technology Associations). Retrieved 22 May 2013.
- "For Fantastic Pho, The Proof is in the Soup, Georgia Straight. April 2008.
- Loh, Laura (13 May 2002). "The Next Ethnic Dish of the Day: Vietnamese Pho". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Ngữ Yên (3 November 2005). "Phở Sài Gòn". Báo điện tử Sài Gòn Tiếp Thị (in Vietnamese) (SGTT Media). Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Schuman, Kate, "Oxford's short dictionary adds hundreds of new words, including 'carbon footprint'", U-T San Diego, September 19, 2007.
- CNN Go.World's 50 most delicious foods. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- Trần Văn Kiệm, Giúp đọc Nôm và Hán Việt [Help reading Nom and Sino-Vietnamese], 2004, "Entry phở". 頗 is an abbreviated form. The full version of the character, ⿰米頗, is not yet part of Unicode.
- Vương Trung Hiếu (July 17, 2012). "Nguồn Gốc Của Phở" [The Origins of Phở]. Văn Chương Việt (in Vietnamese). Retrieved May 16, 2013.
- Nguyễn Công Hoan (2004). Nhớ và ghi về Hà Nội. Youth Publishing House. p. 94.
- Vũ Đức Vượng (14 November 2005). "Phở: tấm danh thiếp của người Việt". VietNamNet (in Vietnamese) (Vietnam Ministry of Information and Communications). Translated into the English: "Pho: Common "name card" of Vietnamese". Sài Gòn Giải Phóng. Translated by Quang Hung (Communist Party Committee of Ho Chi Minh City). 14 November 2005. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
- Morphy, Marcelle (countess) (1948), Recipes of all nations, New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co., p. 802
- Apple, Raymond Walter, Jr. (13 August 2003). "Asian Journey; Looking Up an Old Love On the Streets of Vietnam". The New York Times (New York Times Company).
- Bloom, Dan, "What's that Pho? - French loan words in Vietnam hark back to the colonial days" Taipei Times, May 29, 2010.
- Peters, Erica J. (16 October 2011). Appetites and Aspirations in Vietnam: Food and Drink in the Long Nineteenth Century. Rowman Altamira. p. 204. ISBN 0759120757. "Networks fo Chinese and Vietnamese who cooked or butchered meat for the French most likely diverted beef remnants to street soup vendors …. By 1919, Jean Marquet reports hearing ‘Yoc Pheu!’ called out on the streets of Hanoi by Vietnamese selling beef soup …. Du village à la cité, Marquet’s novel about Vietnamese urbanization and radicalism, …. may be the earliest use of the word in print, and the earliest effort to label phở a uniquely Vietnamese dish."
- Johnathon Gold Pho Town; Noodle stories from South El Monte Dec. 12-18 2008 LA Weekly
- Diana My Tran (2003). The Vietnamese Cookbook. Capital Lifestyles (illustrated ed.). Capital Books. pp. 53–54. ISBN 1-931868-38-7. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
- Dana Craig, Dining Out Review: Pho Saigon, timesdispatch, July 26, 2012
- Nguyễn Công Luận (2012). Nationalist in the Viet Nam Wars: Memoirs of a Victim Turned Soldier. p. 207. "Many of them went to downtown Kontum at night to have a cup of coffee or in the morning to eat a large bowl of phở (Vietnamese noodle soup). It was those early American servicemen who built the best understanding between the Americans ..."
- Gross, Matt (5 May 2013). "Learning to Love ‘the People’s Food’". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). p. TR8. "At lunch, for example, I’d often order pho at the renowned Pho Hoa Pasteur."
- Abt, Samuel (7 February 2008). "Restaurant in Vietnam remembers role in Tet offensive". International Herald Tribune (New York Times Company). Retrieved 15 August 2013. "Upstairs above Pho Binh, the Tet offensive was planned and ordered to begin."
- Cain, Geoffrey (4 November 2010). "Ho Chi Minh City's Secret Noodle Shop". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Nguyen, Lan Anh (14 February 2011). "Starting From Scratch". Forbes Asia (Forbes). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Hsu, Tiffany (21 March 2008). "Cooking up a growth plan". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- "Company Information". Phở Hòa. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
- Vũ Thế Long (18 September 2009). "Phát hiện mới về phở (Bài 2): 'Giải phẫu' một bát phở bò" [New discoveries about pho (2nd article): 'Dissecting' a bowl of beef pho]. Báo Thể thao & Văn hóa (in Vietnamese) (Vietnam News Agency). Retrieved 26 May 2013.