Though this recognition of the dish has only occurred within the last two decades or so, the soup itself has been around since the early 20th century.
The starting point of Pho began in the northern parts of Vietnam near Hanoi in the Nam Dinh Province and more specifically in the villages of Van Cu and Dao Cu. Sold primarily from street vendors in the early morning and late evenings, Pho quickly became a widely sought after dish for all people residing in the villages and surrounding areas.
After recognition of the huge Pho success, two fixed shops were set up; one was Vietnamese owned and the other was Chinese-owned and were both located in front of Bo-Ham tram stop. It wasn’t until the start of the Vietnam War in 1954 that Pho began to spread to all regions and parts of Vietnam where it was used to help easily feed the soldiers and refugees of this time.
The aftermath of the Vietnam War allowed for countless refugees to begin bringing Pho to other parts of the world such as other Asian countries, the United States, France, Canada and Australia. As the relation improvements between the U.S. and Vietnam were taking place, the increase of Pho shops on both the West Coast and East Coast were starting to take off, creating a Pho frenzy.
How it’s Made
Because Pho is made from mostly a combination of meats (beef or chicken) and broth the very first thing that must be done for the making of this delicious soup is to prepare the meat. For beef Pho, it’s usually customary to simmer the beef bones, charred onion and garlic along with the varying spices added into it. However for chicken Pho, you must roast the chicken and then proceed with the spices. Everything from cinnamon, star anise, cloves, coriander seed and black cardamom alongside the ginger and onion are added to enhance the flavors of the Pho soup.
Not only are spices and herbs a part of the creation process but also a variety of garnishes are almost always included as well. A plate of green and white onions, Thai chili peppers, bean sprouts, cilantro and Thai basil usually accompany any Pho dish along with hot and spicy pastes and sauces.
With so many different flavors and unique but simple ingredients that go into making Vietnamese Pho, it’s no wonder as to why this tasty soup has taken off and become one of the many sought after Asian cuisines of today.