Viet Hapa Pho

By • October 27, 2009 13 Comments

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Author Notes: In an attempt to connect to the Vietnamese side of my family, I've studied my mother's pho, or Vietnamese noodle soup, to come up with my own. It may not be authentic (as in, prepared by a full-blooded Vietnamese), but its intentions are good. Furey and the Feast

Food52 Review: WHO: Furey & the Feast is a food blogger, writer and copy editor hailing from Southern California. Her food is often inspired by her Italian and Vietnamese roots, and is always hunger-inducing.
WHAT: A perfectly rich and layered version of pho.
HOW: A straightforward beef bone-based broth is the foundation of Furey & the Feast's noodle soup. It is made deeply aromatic by the addition of charred ginger and onions, a cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, and fish sauce .
WHY WE LOVE IT: Whether or not this dish recalls childhood memories as it does for Furey, it's as flavorful and soul-feeding as any chicken noodle we've ever encountered.
The Editors

Serves 6

For the soup

  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved
  • 1 4-inch piece of ginger, quartered
  • 6 pounds beef bones
  • 1 pound oxtail
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 6 cloves, whole
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 packet rice sticks (pho noodles)
  • 1/2 pound beef tenderloin, thinly sliced


  • Bean sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Thai basil
  1. Over the open flame of a burner, char onion and ginger halves until fragrant and blackened.
  2. In a 10 to 12-quart stockpot, place beef bones, onion, ginger and oxtail. Cover with 5 quarts of cold water (bones should be completely covered. If not, add more water).
  3. Bring beef bones and water to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1-1/2 hours, skimming all impurities from bones that float to the surface.
  4. Add cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, fish sauce and sugar to broth. Continue to simmer for another 1-1/2 to 2 hours, skimming surface of broth as needed.
  5. Taste broth. Depending on how much marrow is in the bones you use, you may need to simmer for longer and reduce the liquid to get that full-bodied beef taste. Remove bones and spices from broth. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. (This is an optional step.) When broth is to your liking, cool broth and place in refrigerator overnight. In the morning, take pot out of fridge and skim fat off of surface of broth.
  7. To assemble: Reheat broth to a boil. Soak pho noodles in a bowl of water until soft. Drain.
  8. Heat water in a 4- to 5-quart pot. When water comes to a boil, add soaked noodles. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft. Drain, and portion noodles into bowls.
  9. Place thinly sliced raw tenderloin on top of noodles. Ladle broth over meat and noodles. Top with garnishes and serve hot.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

More Great Recipes: Beef & Veal|Rice & Grains|Entrees|Soups|Soup

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Comments (13) Questions (0)


3 months ago Furey and the Feast

Hello, William!
Thanks for reading. To answer your question, my family does not use lemongrass in the pho broth recipe--we use it in other things like shaken beef. We're from South Vietnam, so I wonder if there are other regions that use lemongrass?


3 months ago william willke

My family and I have been in love with Vietnamese cuisine for years. I have made pho before to fairly good success. Since I am not Vietnamese I have tried to stay as orthodox as possible in my preparations. I am wondering with your recipe do ever use lemon grass? And if not is that a regional addition? Please clue me in... Thanks in advance


over 1 year ago Furey and the Feast

Procrastibaker: Thanks so much for your comment, and for trying the recipe!


over 1 year ago procrastibaker

I crave pho all the time, no matter what, so I made the broth for this on my long weekend and tonight we sat down for our first-ever homemade bowls of pho. It was delicious! I let the broth simmer for two hours after adding the spices, etc, but I wish I had had the time to let it go even longer, because I found myself craving a stronger beef flavor. However, I couldn't be more pleased with the flavors and the way they worked together, and now I know for my next round to be sure all the wonderful marrow has had time to work its magic. Thanks for a new favorite weekend cooking project!


about 2 years ago Sabine Gagnon

My husband made this last week and as we were eating it, we scheduled it again for this weeks menu! So delicious, easy to prepare, and refreshing! I'm from the Seattle area and Pho restaurants are everywhere. Currently living in Southern Spain, I was having some major withdrawals! This hit the spot. Thanks for the excellent recipe. It'll be one of our go-to soups!


over 2 years ago Furey and the Feast

Hi cobe! "Hapa" is actually a term I identify with: It's a term for a person who's of mixed Asian descent. I'm Vietnamese, but also Italian and Irish, so I'm most definitely a Hapa. So since this recipe is Vietnamese with some western influences, it's fitting. :)


over 2 years ago cobe

Sounds like a pretty legit recipe. Just curious though: what is "Hapa" and where did it come from?


almost 3 years ago stephanieRD

I'm making this today! And it's perfect because it's a rainy day...the smell is out-of-this-world! I omitted oxtail because my butcher didn't have any on hand. Hoping it will turn out ok with just the beef bones! I am so excited to taste the final product for dinner tonight!


over 3 years ago gr8chefmb

This sounds absolutely yummy!


over 3 years ago yevgenia

i ate pho in hanoi. the best experience in vietnam. you sitting on small chairs on a street and enjoying this very simple soup so much!


over 3 years ago FWK

I have been making Pho quite a bit recently. After doing some research I find that one of the keys is to use quality ingredients, especially the fish sauce (3 Crabs or Flying Lion) and I use marrow bones cut about 2" long for the stock. For the finished bowl I really like fresh rice noodles, and tri-tip works well for the beef.
I am also able to get Vietnamese cilantro (sawtooth) from a local Asian market. I also like siracha sauce as well.
What really sets this off are all the great aromatics.


over 3 years ago krusher

After living in Saigon fro 12 months during the war, I came to love Pho, my healing all-things-to-my-heart-and-soul remedy and delight (as chicken soup is to many). This recipe is the real deal! Thank you for this. Today I will cook the broth slow and long while I am devising and refining my celery challenge entry - the finished Viet Hapa Pho will be my reward. So much to look forward to.


over 4 years ago susan g

I hope you will post more recipes from your Vietnamese side. I'd love to peek into your mother's kitchen!