The origin of phở is uncertain, and is mostly culled from oral histories. While a distinctly Vietnamese dish, phở has French and Chinese influences. Still, the consensus among academics, diners and restaurateurs is that it originated about a century ago in northern Vietnam. The specific place of origin appears to be southwest of Hanoi in Nam Dinh province, then a substantial textile market, where cooks sought to please both Vietnamese (local rice noodles - originally of Chinese origin) and French tastes (cattle before the French arrival being beasts of burden, not frequently sources of beef). was originally sold by venders from large boxes, until the first phở restaurant was opened in the 1920s in Hanoi.
The origin of the word was one subject in a seminar on phở held in Hanoi in 2003. One theory advanced at the seminar is that the name comes from the French feu (fire), as in the dish pot-au-feu, which like pho uses the French method of adding charred onion to the broth for color and flavor, one of the techniques which distinguishes pho from other Asian noodle soups. Some believe the origin of the word to be the Chinese fen (粉). In addition to rice noodles, multiple spices (such as star anise and cinnamon) are staples of Chinese cuisine (although the cinnamon used in phở, Saigon Cinnamon, is not a true cinnamon and is a local ingredient).
Linguistically, the etymology of the name is not likely French. In the Vietnamese language, the word phở carries a non-flat category, whereas most French loanwords carry a flat tone, sắc or nặng tone, depending on the end consonant except the loanwords are ended with -t, -p, -c, -ch consonants. Phở does not match this rule.
Some observers believe phở may come from the Cantonese rice vermicelli Hofan (河粉) which are interchangeably abbreviated as either fan2 (粉, phấn in Tự Hán Việt) or Ho2 (河, Hà inTự Hán Việt ), the two sounds giving the name "phở". Both fan and pho refer to the same rice noodles found in Vietnam and Guangdong, China, suggesting that rice noodles may have been brought to Vietnam by Cantonese immigrants from the Guangdong province in the early 20th century. The noodles are cooked identically in both places, and are often seasoned using fish sauce, garnished with bean sprouts, and served with meat balls and sliced beef. Vietnamese phở, however, is further garnished with fresh mint, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, limes, sliced chili peppers and sliced raw beef; this is especially true of Saigon-style phở. Furthermore, the broth of phở is made of beef bones and fresh onion, whereas the Cantonese broth of fan is made of dried flatfish and other seafood. In some regional varieties, the Vietnamese broth may also have a mildly sweet flavour from Asian yellow rock sugar, but the Cantonese version is not.
The variations in meat, broth and additional garnishes such as lime, bean sprouts, ngo gai (thorny cilantro), hung que (Thai/Asian basil), and tuong (bean sauce/hoisin sauce) appear to be innovations introduced in the south. Phở did not become popular in South Vietnam until 1954.
There are several regional variants of phở in Vietnam, particularly divided between northern (Hanoi, called phở bắc or "northern phở"; or phở Hà Nội), central (Huế) , and southern (Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon). One regional phở may be sweeter, and another variation may emphasize a bolder and spicier flavor. "Northern phở" tends to use somewhat wider noodles and green onions.photo 1photo 2 On the other hand, southern Vietnamese generally use thinner noodles (approximately the width of pad Thai or linguine noodles), and add bean sprouts and a greater variety of fresh herbs to their phở instead.
Vietnamese phở noodle soup with sliced rare beef and well done beef brisket.
Possibly the earliest reference to phở in English was in the book Recipes of All Nations edited by Countess Morphy in 1935. In the book, phở 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.
With the Vietnam war and the victory of the North Vietnam, phở was brought to many countries by Vietnamese refugees fleeing Vietnam from the 1970s onwards. It is especially popular in large cities with substantial Vietnamese populations and enclaves such as Paris in France, the West Coast of Canada, the West Coast and Texas in the United States, and the immigrant areas in the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne of Australia, and Hong Kong.
Phở is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles (called bánh phở') in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, meatballs, chicken leg, chicken breast, or other chicken organs. "With the lot" (made with chicken broth and all or most of the shop's chicken and cattle offerings, including chicken hearts and livers and beef tripe and tendons) is known as phở đặc biệt ("specialty phở")
Type of Pho:
- Phở bò tái: Phở with half-done beef fillet
- Phở bò chín nạc: Phở with well-done beef brisket
- Phở bắp bò: Phở with beef muscle
- Phở nạm bò: Phở with beef flank
- Phở gân bò: Phở with beef tendon
- Phở sách bò: Phở with beef tripe
- Phở bò viên: Phở with beef meat balls
- Phở gà: Chicken phở
- Phở sốt vang: Phở in beef stew soup
- Phở tái: Phở with raw beef fillet
- Phở tôm: Phở served with pieces of shrimp (sometimes served at Vietnamese-American restaurants)
- Phở hải sản: Phở served with variety of seafood (sometimes served at Vietnamese-American restaurants)
- Phở xào: Stir-fried phở
- Phở chua: Sour phở used with nước mắm pha like gỏi or nộm, found in far Northern Vietnam
- Phở cay: Spicy phở with vegetables
Add in Hanoi:
- Pho Suong :
Trung Yen, Hang Be, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi Tel: