When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, the first dish a lot of people picture is the noodle dish, pho, and for good reason. Pho is the quintessential Vietnamese dish. It is simple, healthy, and flavorful. This dish is so amazing that it has completely taken over the world by storm. But do you know its origin and that there are different types of pho? If your answer is “no” then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we’ll be talking all about pho.
The origin of Pho
Though it is widely accepted that pho came from North Vietnam during the late 19th and early 20th century, its exact origins are unknown and somewhat controversial. There hasn't been any consensus on its origins. Some believe that pho is a Vietnamese adaptation of French stew pot-au-feu with the most prominent similarity being the word ‘feu’ sounding similar to modern-day pho. Others believe that pho came from the Cantonese word ‘phan’, which was the name of the rice noodle sold by Chinese immigrants in Hanoi. Despite its unclear origins, pho is beloved all across Vietnam and the world beyond.
Common types of Pho available in Vietnam
If you want to try out pho, you should know that there are different kinds of pho depending on the region and type of ingredient used.
The most common type of pho is the pho bac or the northern pho. It is believed to have originated from North Vietnam. The broth is clear, simple, and has a delicate flavor. Thin slices of beef are served with the noodles which are cooked in the hot broth. The dish is garnished with very few toppings like cilantro, onions, chili, and lime wedges.
Pho Nam is the stronger flavored pho when compared to pho bac. The pho nam originated in Southern Vietnam. The broth is darker and sweeter which is seasoned with either hoisin sauce or sriracha. It is also served with a lot of garnishes like basil, bean sprouts, chilly, hoisin sauce, lime, garlic, and lime.
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One of the most popular pho is pho ba. The broth is made from beef cuts which are boiled along with herbs and spices like cinnamon, star anise, coriander, etc. to make it flavorful. Thin slices of either raw or cooked beef are served as garnish along with scallions and cilantro.
Pho Ga is pho made from chicken meat and bones. The broth is clearer and lighter than beef-based broths. The dish is garnered with pieces of chicken along with lime wedges, chilies, basil, and mint.
Pho Xao is stir-fried pho. It is a simple dish made with noodles, beef, spring onions, bean sprouts which are cooked in dark soy sauce to give it an intense rich color.
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Pho Chua is a popular type of pho in Northern Vietnam. Made using six core ingredients- pink rice noodles, peanuts, pickles, soy sauce, pickle liquid, and Northern sauce. The distinctive sour taste is from a pickle.
So there you have it, the origin of pho and the most common types of pho available in Vietnam. This tasty noodle dish has traveled all the way from its humble origins on a street corner in Vietnam to becoming a worldwide sensation. If you are ver in Vietnam you should definitely try it out.