Exploring the History of Pho

Exploring the History of Pho

Pho is the iconic dish of Vietnam. In fact, this much-beloved soup is often referred to as the country’s national dish. While there are many variations, pho is traditionally made with rice noodles and beef broth, along with a complex array of mouthwatering spices and thin slices of beef or chicken. To achieve its unique flavor, pho is simmered for a long time on low heat, preferably with rich bone broth.

Origins of Pho

Like many other dishes, it’s unknown exactly who invented pho. But experts tend to agree that it has multicultural origins. According to oral tradition, pho first made an appearance sometime in the late 1880s in northern Vietnam. This was the era when the French colonized the country. Prior to that time, the Vietnamese people used cattle as beasts of burden, rather than for food. Under the influence of the French, the Vietnamese began slaughtering cattle for beef. This is how beef became associated with the country’s national dish. During this time period, there were also heavy influences from China. Vietnam imported rice noodles and spices from China. The combination of beef, noodles, and spices resulted in a dish that was uniquely Vietnamese.

Regional Variations

The dish has evolved over the decades. There are many regional variations on pho. Northern Vietnamese pho is more traditional, with fewer added ingredients. It typically has fewer cuts of meat and features small slices of ginger on top of the soup. Southern Vietnamese pho often features extra ingredients like bean sprouts and fresh basil.

Pho Outside Vietnam

When Saigon fell in 1975, many Vietnamese people fled the country in search of freedom. They brought few possessions, but many cultural traditions and memories. Although they initially had trouble finding pho shops outside Vietnam, the enthusiasm for pho never faded. Today, you can find hundreds of pho shops and Vietnamese restaurants across the U.S.

If you’re in the mood for authentic Vietnamese food and live near Steamboat Springs, CO, head out to Noodles & More Saigon Café. Using fresh ingredients and traditional recipes, this award-winning restaurant brings the delicious tastes of Vietnamese cuisine to the U.S. To inquire about their hours or current menu, call (970) 870-1544.

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