Pho In America And Pho In Vietnam – Differences Explained

Pho Noodles In Vietnam

I have eaten Vietnamese Pho or noodle soup in America and Vietnam. And though they may seem to be similar, they are quite different in several ways.

The iconic Vietnamese noodle soup known as Pho is not the same in America as in Vietnam. One of the significant differences in the freshness of the ingredients you can get in Vietnam versus what you can find in America. The freshness in Vietnam is from everything as the rice noodles, vegetables, herbs, limes, spices, and even the bone broth make a difference in the final taste of the Vietnamese pho soup.

Pho In Vietnam And America – Some Differences Explained

Pho is one of the most popular dishes in Vietnam. Even between the Pho served throughout Vietnam, there are some differences between north and south.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup made with many great ingredients such as bone broth, vegetables, fresh noodles, protein, and other toppings. Pho is a staple in Vietnam and is considered Vietnamese comfort food.

There are differences in the Pho between north and south Vietnam. As I live in Hanoi, I love the northern Vietnamese style Pho.

So, there are differences between before north and south Vietnam with the Pho style and taste and even how the Pho is served, between north and south Vietnam. No matter the difference between these different styles of pho soup, Pho is a fantastic Vietnamese noodle soup.

Here are some significant differences between Pho in Vietnam and Pho in America.

Pho In Vietnam Uses Fresh Vegetables

Various vegetables on the morning market in Vietnam

One of the first things I always notice is how fresh the vegetables are in Vietnam compared to America. In Vietnam, the vegetables are cut and used the same day, which is exceptionally fresh.

Having fresh vegetables is very important to the Vietnamese, so in Vietnam, you will see that many Vietnamese go to the vegetable street market daily to ensure their vegetables are very fresh. The Pho here is no exception as a good pho noodle stall would make sure the vegetables they use in their Pho are very fresh.

Listen To Our Podcast About Vietnamese Pho – All About The Iconic Dish below or by clicking here.

Pho In Vietnam Uses Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs planted only at home.

There are many kinds of essential Vietnamese herbs which are much harder to find in the USA. To find these herbs in the USA, most people will grow them at home or buy them from a particular Asian supermarket or supplier.

In Vietnam, we grow these herbs in our balcony garden, which is always very fresh. We will pick and wash them right before eating them in the Pho. This is another example of how fresh the herbs can be in Vietnam vs. what you can find in other parts of the world.

Pho In Vietnam Has Fresh Noodles

A woman from Vietnam making a fresh noodle

The Pho in Vietnam also has very fresh noodles. Like the vegetables, the rice noodles used in the Pho are made fresh daily and purchased from the noodle supplier.

In a place like America, they do not have this same option, so the noodles are not as fresh and usually have to use a dried version that is then boiled up. One of the things I have always loved about the Vietnamese fresh rice noodle is how very fresh they are.

Pho Is Great With Really Fresh Limes

Lime Fruit
Fresh Lime

In Vietnam, the limes are very fresh. When you cut a piece of lime, you can get a lot of juice out of it so that you know it is fresh.

I was recently in the states and brought some limes, and they were so hard that I was lucky to get one or two drops of lime juice out of one lime. Compared to Vietnam, the limes in the United States were not as fresh and did not taste the same.

Pho Broth Should Be Cooked From Fresh Ingredients

The key to a delicious Pho is not the meat, which is very little, but the broth. In Vietnam, a good noodle stall or someone who makes Pho will cook the broth a long time using chicken, pork, or beef bones and a combination of different spices.

A good Pho is about having an excellent fresh broth as the basis for your soup. It is more of a bone broth which is one of the reasons the broth is healthy in that it is made from fresh bones and ingredients and not just a broth powder.

Cooked With Star Anise And Cinnamon

Star anise and Cinnamon powder and stick

A good Pho broth would also have a touch of Star Anise spice and cinnamon added to it. Star Anise is a plant and spice found in north Vietnam and China.

We like to have our Pho with the star anise and a touch of cinnamon added as it feels like it gives the Pho full flavor.

Pho is one of those iconic Vietnamese foods that even if you are in the states and cannot find the ingredients or the freshest version of Pho, it is still delicious and worth having.

I have found in all my travels that food usually always tastes best in its original location and often will lose some flavor when cooked in another place or country. I have found this to be true of Vietnamese food and Thai food. Those foods always taste best in their original lands and cultures, but if you cannot travel there, it does not mean you can not enjoy the food and flavors somewhere else.

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Vietnamese Southern Pho Vs Northern Pho

The main difference between the northern and southern iconic Vietnamese dish known as Pho is that the south Vietnamese Pho is sweeter than the Vietnamese north Pho. North and south Vietnam also tend to use different meats to flavor the Pho, with both the north and south using a lot of beef. The spices or flavoring north and south Vietnamese add to the Pho are also different.

By clicking here, you can discover Vietnamese Southern Pho Vs. Northern Pho.

The Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo – A Warm Beef Noodle Salad Recipe

The Vietnamese dish of Bún Bò Nam Bộ translates from Vietnamese into English to – The beef noodle dish from the southern region. What is interesting about Bún Bò Nam Bộ is that even though the North Vietnamese consider it to be from South Vietnam, it is a more popular dish in North Vietnam than South Vietnam.

By clicking here, you can discover more by reading our blog, The Vietnamese Bun Bo Nam Bo- A Warm Beef Noodle Salad Recipe.

Anita L Hummel

Hi, I live in Hanoi, Vietnam but spend time traveling the region. I love to share with you things I see and learn through my travels.

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Pho In America And Pho In Vietnam Differences Explained