Recipe: Phò

Making phò at home has been one of the things that I’ve wanted to do since forever. Thanks to quarantine and a state mandated curfew, I finally had the time to spend 18 hours to wait for my beef stock to be ready. Was it worth it? Keep reading to find out.


  • Serves about 6-8 depending on how generous you are with your soup


Beef soup stock

  • 3-4 lbs beef bones
  • 1 onion (charred)
  • 1 ginger (charred)
  • 8-10 star anise
  • 3 Tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar
  • 1 Tbsp MSG
  • 8-10 Tbsp fish sauce (or to taste)


  • Rice noodles

[Optional] Extra meat

  • Beef balls
  • Rare beef/steak slices

[Optional] Garnish

  • Bean sprouts
  • Thai basil
  • Cilantro
  • Green onions
  • Lime
  • Jalapeno
  • Hoisin sauce / Sriracha sauce

Tips and Notes

  • You can use whatever combination of beef bones you want. I got beef neck (which was really good and tender), beef hind shank, and beef marrow bone (gave it a nice fattiness) – mostly because it was the only types of beef bones that I could get at the market I was at (Ranch 99).
  • Instead of MSG (monosodium glutamate), you can substitute it with just salt. I was able to find MSG and thought I’d try it to enhance the broth flavor.
  • Instead of palm sugar, you can use rock sugar or brown sugar.
  • You can char the onion and ginger on the stove burner (just put it on top of the hot burner), in the oven (I watched a video and someone took 40 minutes using this method), or I broiled it in my air fryer for 15 minutes.
  • I got fresh rice noodles because they’re super good and cook in just a couple of minutes after you boil the water. You can also get the dry noodles too.
  • All the garnish was worth getting.
  • I also love hoisin/sriracha to dip my meat in.

Putting it together


  1. Cut the ginger in half so that the inside is exposed.
  2. Cut the onion in half.
  3. Char the ginger and onion.
  4. Wash and cut all the fresh garnish to your liking.

Clean the bones

  1. Boil a pot of water in a large pot.
  2. Put all the bones in the pot and boil for 20 minutes.
  3. Pour out and strain all the bones into a colander.
  4. Rinse all the bones so it’s not grainy.

Make the stock

  1. In the same pot, boil 6-8 quarts of water (depends on the size of your pot)
  2. Put the bones back in the pot.
  3. Add the charred onion, charred ginger, star anise, coriander seeds, cinnamon sticks, and palm sugar.
  4. Let it simmer for 5-6 hours minimum. Let is sit overnight if possible. The longer it sits, the better.
  5. When it’s ready to serve, add fish sauce and MSG to taste.

Putting it together

  1. Cook the rice noodles per the instructions of the package.
  2. Cook the beef balls if you want them.
  3. Put rice noodles in a bowl.
  4. Top it with rare beef slices (at your own risk. Cook the beef first if you don’t want it raw).
  5. Add beef balls.
  6. Add cilantro and green onion.
  7. Ladle the hot beef broth in the bowl.
  8. Add in the side of bean sprouts, basil, jalapeno and lime.
  9. Make yourself a hoisin/sriracha dipping sauce.
  10. Enjoy your bowl of pho.


My apartment smelled so good for 18 hours (I left it sitting overnight)! The beef stock turned out pretty well. It actually tasted like pho! It wasn’t jammed packed with flavor as I was hoping for letting it sit overnight, but there was definitely a nice beef flavor in the broth. I could have amped up the flavor with more fish sauce and MSG, but I didn’t want to ruin the flavor with too much sodium.

Overall, I wouldn’t compare it to a good pho restaurant or anything, but it turned out pretty well considering I thought it was a lot of work to make this. It’s really pretty simple, but it took a lot of patience to wait for it.

I would totally make this again though and try other types of beef bones to see what other beef stock flavors I can make. I was super impressed with this for my first time.


This meal was inspired by How to make an Authentic bowl of VIETNAMESE PHO. You should watch this video regardless because it was slightly entertaining.