Classic Vietnamese Pho Recipe: Savory and Satisfying

“Welcome to my kitchen! I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for the authentic Vietnamese Pho Tai, a soup that has been enjoyed by generations of families in Vietnam and abroad. Pho is a beloved dish that warms up both the body and soul, and has gained popularity worldwide for its rich flavors and variety of textures.

I have always been passionate about cooking and exploring different cuisines, but Vietnamese cuisine holds a special place in my heart. As a chef specializing in Asian cuisine, I have traveled extensively through Vietnam, learning about the country’s diverse culinary traditions and techniques.

This recipe uses fragrant herbs and spices like star anise, gingerroot, cinnamon stick, clove, fennel seed, lime, cilantro leaf, Thai basil, shallot and green onions that are essential in creating a complex broth for the Pho. I also use rice noodles that are delicate and absorbent, thinly sliced beef or Pho Tai cuts that are tender and perfectly cooked, bean sprouts for freshness and texture. Finally, chili sauce, hoisin sauce, fish sauce which complete the aromas and flavors of this exquisite dish.

With this recipe article sections to guide you step-by-step through the cooking process, you’ll have everything you need to make your very own bowl of authentic Vietnamese Pho Tai at home for your family and loved ones. So let’s put on our aprons and start cooking!”

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pho Tai
Pho Tai

Get ready to have your taste buds tickled with one of the most authentic, delicious and flavorful Vietnamese noodle soups you will ever try – Pho Tai. This dish is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine and is a must-try for all food lovers. What makes this recipe so special? Let me tell you!

Firstly, it’s all about the broth. Our homemade broth is made from beef bones, star anise, gingerroot, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves and fennel seed. Boosted with chicken bouillon cubes, sea salt and a pinch of sugar, this soup is packed with umami flavor that we can guarantee will make your taste buds dance.

But the broth isn’t the only feature that makes this recipe remarkable. The thinly sliced beef eye round used in this recipe cooks quickly and remains tender in bite-size pieces. The beef slices are simply cook by pouring hot pho broth over it.

Don’t forget about the fresh herbs! This dish wouldn’t be complete without lime wedges, cilantro leaf, Thai basil, sliced shallots or green onions to give the soup some freshness and texture.

Plus, Pho Tai is completely customizable. Feel free to add in bean sprouts or any other toppings you prefer for a more personalized experience.

In essence, Pho Tai offers all the flavors and aromas that Vietnamese cuisine is known for – sweet, savory, salty and sour – all of which come together in perfect harmony to create a delicious treat for your senses. Trust us; your taste buds will thank you for trying Pho Tai – it’s truly a crowd-pleaser that belongs on every kitchen table!

Ingredient List

 A steaming bowl of fragrant Pho Tai is perfect for a comforting and hearty meal.
A steaming bowl of fragrant Pho Tai is perfect for a comforting and hearty meal.

Before we proceed with the ingredients, let me assure you that this recipe is worth the effort, time, and cost! For a truly authentic Pho Tai, you’ll need these ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of beef eye round, sliced into thin pieces

  • 2 onions, chopped and divided

  • 1 gingerroot, about a thumb size

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds

  • 3 – 4 shallots

  • 6-8 green onions, cut into about three-inch pieces

  • A handful of cilantro and Thai basil leaves (stem removed)

  • Rice noodles (thinly sliced noodles for Pho)

For the broth:

  • 4 liters of water

  • Bones from a chicken or beef

  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or beef broth cubes

  • 1 tablespoon of chili sauce

  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

  • Fish sauce and sugar to taste

  • Star anise (2 -3 pieces)

  • Cloves (3 -5 pieces)

Don’t worry if you can’t find all these ingredients at the store, I have some suggestions for substitutions in the next section.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to slurp up long strands of soft noodles, tender beef slices and crisp veggies in every bite.
Get ready to slurp up long strands of soft noodles, tender beef slices and crisp veggies in every bite.

Step-by-Step Guide:

1. Preparing the Broth

The broth is the key to any good phở tái recipe. In a large stockpot, add 2 lbs of beef bones, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, 2 cloves, 1 fennel seed, lime peel from half of one lime, and gingerroot. Add sea salt and sugar to taste. Fill with water and bring to a boil at high heat, then lower heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 3 hours. Make sure to remove any scum that arises at the surface.

2. Cooking the Beef

While the broth is cooking, you can start preparing the beef. Cut 1-2 lbs of beef eye round into very thin slices (about 2-3 inches in length) against the grain.

3. Preparing the Garnish

Chop shallots, slice some green onions, cilantro leaf and Thai basil leaves thinly.

4. Preparing the Rice Noodles

In a separate pot, boil water at high heat then add rice noodles according to package instructions until softened (around 6-8 minutes). Drain and rinse with cold running water before serving.

5. Assembly

Here comes the fun part! Once everything is prepared and cooked to perfection, prepare either large bowls or individual bowls if serving smaller portions.

Place four or five slices of beef on top of the noodles in each bowl, along with your desired amount of shallots and green onions on top. Ladle hot broth into each bowl until it almost covers everything.

Garnish each bowl with cilantro leaf and Thai basil leaves. You can also add fresh bean sprouts as an extra “oomph.”

Serve with hoisin sauce, fish sauce, chili sauce on side bowls so each eater can adjust according to their preference.

Enjoy your homemade pho tái, which is sure to transport you straight to the streets of Vietnam.

Substitutions and Variations

 Anyone can enjoy the sweet aroma of this Vietnamese classic, it's like a happy dance in your mouth.
Anyone can enjoy the sweet aroma of this Vietnamese classic, it’s like a happy dance in your mouth.

Pho Tai is a classic Vietnamese noodle soup that’s rich and aromatic, with thin slices of rare beef as the shining star. But what if you’re missing some of the ingredients? Don’t panic. There are many substitutions and variations that you can use to create your own unique version of this beloved dish.

– Beef: If you can’t find beef eye round, any lean cut of beef will do. You can also use brisket, flank steak or sirloin, but make sure to trim off any excess fat before slicing it thinly against the grain.

– Broth: While homemade pho broth is the best, it’s a laborious process that takes several hours to make from scratch. As an alternative, you can use store-bought beef broth and enhance its flavor by simmering it with star anise, gingerroot, and cloves.

– Noodles: Rice noodles are the traditional choice for pho, but you can also experiment with other types of noodles like egg noodles, udon noodles or soba noodles.

– Vegetables: Bean sprouts, Thai basil, cilantro leaves and green onions add freshness and crunch to the dish. If you’re not a fan of one or more of these ingredients, feel free to omit them or substitute them for other vegetables that you prefer.

– Chili sauce/Hoisin sauce/Fish sauce: These sauces are essential condiments for pho that offer sweetness, tanginess and umami flavors. However, if you don’t have them on hand, don’t despair. You can replace chili sauce with Sriracha hot sauce or Tabasco sauce; hoisin sauce with oyster sauce or plum sauce; and fish sauce with soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.

Remember that every substitution will affect the final flavor of your Pho Tai. So be creative but also mindful of how each ingredient plays a role in balancing the taste of this beloved classic dish.

Serving and Pairing

 With a little understanding of the right ingredients and some technique, making Pho at home is super easy.
With a little understanding of the right ingredients and some technique, making Pho at home is super easy.

Once your Pho Tai is ready, it’s time to serve it up! The hot and flavorful broth will be the base for the rice noodles and thinly sliced beef, and you’ll want to be sure to have plenty of fresh herbs and vegetables on hand for toppings.

Traditionally, bean sprouts, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, basil leaves, and sliced jalapeno peppers are served alongside the soup. This adds a fresh crunch and zingy flavor that complements the rich, hearty broth.

Some people also like to add chili sauce, hoisin sauce or fish sauce for additional depth of flavor. Be sure to have a bottle or two of these sauces on hand for those who may want to spice up their Pho Tai.

As for pairing, this comforting noodle soup goes great with many different beverages. I personally love sipping on a hot cup of green tea while enjoying my bowl of Pho Tai. Others like to have cold beers or refreshing iced teas to balance out the heat from the soup.

Overall, the best way to enjoy your Pho Tai is in good company with friends or family. The communal aspect of this dish makes it perfect for sharing and enjoying together. So turn up the heat on the stove, chop up those fresh herbs and veggies, and get ready for a delicious bowl of authentic Vietnamese Pho Tai!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The flavors are unbelievable - savory from beef stock, sweet from roasted shallots and ginger, and spicy from sriracha and chili flakes.
The flavors are unbelievable – savory from beef stock, sweet from roasted shallots and ginger, and spicy from sriracha and chili flakes.

Pho Tai is a nourishing and flavorful Vietnamese noodle soup that can be enjoyed any time of the day. It’s a hearty meal that’s packed with savory beef broth, tender beef slices, fresh herbs, and noodles. Fortunately, this soup recipe is easy to make ahead and store, making it perfect for meal prep or leftovers.

To make ahead, prepare the soup as directed and allow it to cool completely. Once cooled, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This will allow the flavors to meld together even more, resulting in a more flavorful soup.

Sometimes the noodles tend to absorb all the liquid in the broth when stored for an extended period. To avoid this issue, you can store the noodles separately from the broth.

To reheat the soup, simply transfer it back into a large pot and heat it over medium-high heat until it comes back to simmer. Alternatively, you can reheat it in a microwave-safe dish by covering with plastic wrap and microwaving for about 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

If you want to freeze your Pho Tai, portion out your soup into an airtight freezer-safe container and store for up to one month. When reheating frozen Pho Tai after storing it in the freezer, first defrost overnight in the refrigerator before reheating using one of the above methods.

Remember that while pho tai can be stored and reheated safely from a food safety perspective, freshness might be compromised. Therefore it’s best to eat freshly cooked pho tai where possible.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A sprinkle of lime juice and bean sprouts adds a
A sprinkle of lime juice and bean sprouts adds a

As someone who has cooked Vietnamese and Asian cuisine for a while, I’ve learned a few tricks to getting the perfect pho tai. Here are my tips to help you perfect this dish:

1. Use high-quality ingredients:

Make sure that you use fresh ingredients as well as high-quality spices such as star anise, cinnamon stick, cloves and fennel seed. This will allow for optimal taste making the dish much more satisfying.

2. Choose your beef carefully:

When it comes to beef cuts in Pho Tai, it is important to select high quality meat such as beef eye round cut into thin slices. The half-frozen technique may be used so that the beef can be sliced thinly and easily.

3. Don’t skip the broth making step:

The broth is foundational component of pho tai which makes it essential to get the flavors right for the recipe. Making broth could be time-consuming but is definitely worth it.

4. Add lime to garnish:

Proepr lime juice really helps to add a refreshing taste to this soup recipe, since the acidity can also help balance out some of the richer flavors in pho tai.

5. Garnish with fresh herbs and toppings:

Cilantro leaves, bean sprouts, and thai basil are perfect accompaniments to this dish! Furthermore, adding chili sauce or hoisin sauce gives a contrasting sweet-tangy favor to balance of broth.

6. Stick with authentic ingredients whenever possible:

As an authentic Vietnamese recipe follower having used ingredients such as fish sauce, shallots and chicken bouillon cubes helped greatly in achieving traditional Vietnamese taste.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll find that your Pho Tai recipe yield a rich taste that only makes sense for that traditional Vietnamese experience. Happy Cooking!


Now, let’s move on to the FAQs section. In this section, we answer some common questions about this recipe and provide additional tips to help you perfect your dish. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced cook, continue reading to enhance your knowledge of making the tasty Pho Tai dish.

What is tai in pho?

If you’re new to pho, starting with a simple meat option like thinly sliced rare beef steak, also known as “bo tai” or “tai,” is recommended. It’s a staple ingredient in beef pho and allows you to truly experience the flavors of the dish without being too overwhelming.

What is pho tai made of?

This dish called Pho Tai is a soup that is widely enjoyed in Vietnam. It is primarily made with thin slices of rare beef and rice noodles, particularly vermicelli. This flavorful broth is typically garnished with fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, and scallions. Additionally, bean sprouts are often added as a final touch to enhance the dish’s overall taste.

What cut of meat is pho tai?

For pho dishes, the preferred meat for tai is round eye steak that has been sliced thinly. However, ribeye or tenderloin can be substituted. Tai’s thin, tender slices of beef are highly prized for their distinct, savory taste.

What are the secret ingredients in pho?

Some food experts claim that dried peanut worms, also known as sa sung, are the key element that makes pho soup truly exceptional.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Pho Tai recipe is one of the most delicious and authentic Vietnamese noodle soup recipes you will ever come across. It is a perfect blend of flavors and textures that create an exceptionally palatable experience. The combination of rice noodles, thin slices of beef, aromatic herbs, and spices immersed in a simmering broth is truly uplifting to the senses.

This recipe also allows for flexibility in ingredients and cooking methods to suit various preferences. You can either use an instant pot or a large stockpot, and choose from a variety of broth types – beef bone, chicken bouillon cubes or homemade pho broth. Additionally, you can sub in different types of meat like beef chuck or eye round, or tailor it to your liking with toppings like bean sprouts, cilantro leaves, green onions among others.

Besides its impeccable taste, this dish promotes health and wellness by providing essential nutrients such as protein, iron, vitamins and so much more. By following the recipe’s tips and recommendations outlined above, it’s easier than ever before to make this authentic Vietnamese delicacy at the comfort of your home.

So what are you waiting for? Start gathering up on ingredients and get cooking! I guarantee that your taste buds will be glad you did. This Pho Tai recipe is an excellent opportunity to broaden your culinary skills and impress your guests at any occasion!

Pho Tai

Pho Tai Recipe

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup with Eye Round Steak
No ratings yet
Cook Time 5 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 270.9 kcal


  • 3 lbs oxtails
  • 2 lbs beef eye round
  • 2 (16 ounce) packages rice noodles (medium banh pho)
  • 1 white onion
  • 6 green onions
  • 8 shallots
  • 2 (3 inch) gingerroot
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil
  • 1 cup cilantro leaf
  • 1 lime
  • 2 serrano peppers
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 8 star anise pods
  • 12 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • hoisin sauce (prefer Lee Kum Kee brand)
  • chili sauce (sriacha)


  • Bring 4.5 gallons water to a boil.
  • Trim top off shallots, leaving skins and bottoms intact. Rinse and leave skin on ginger. On high heat, dry-fry shallots and ginger until shallots are slightly charred and ginger is soft on edges, turning regularly for about 15 minutes.
  • Pound ginger until it cracks slightly, and add ginger and charred shallots to boiling water.
  • In a medium tea ball strainer, combine fennel, bay leaves, cinnamon, anise, and cloves; add tea ball with spices to boiling water. Add oxtail to water, and return to boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, maintaining a slight boil. Skim fat periodically (2x / hr) and cook for 4 hours.
  • Add chicken bouillon, sugar, 2 tbsp sea salt and fish sauce, cook for 1 more hour, then strain all solids from broth.
  • 20 mins before broth finishes, begin soaking rice noodles in cold water for 20 mins, and place eye round steak in freezer to ease slicing.
  • Arrange lime wedges, cilantro stalks, thai basil stalks, sliced serrano peppers, diced green sections of green onions, hoisin, and sriacha on serving plate for personal addition to the individual soup bowls.
  • Fill small saucepan with water and 1/2 tsp salt; bring to a boil. Place strainer inside saucepan and cook rice noodles in 3oz increments in water nest for 90 seconds each before transferring to individual bowls.
  • In each bowl, place 3oz cooked noodles, 1 oz thinly sliced white onion, 2oz thinly sliced raw eye round steak, 12oz broth. Hot broth, when spooned into the bowl, will cook the raw eye round slices.
  • **Note: if scaling down on numbers of servings, cooking time should remain the same. Also, bean sprouts traditionally are added to the garnish plate; I personally don't care for them so I have left them out of the recipe and photos in this case.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 131gCalories: 270.9kcalCarbohydrates: 45.9gProtein: 13.4gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 27.4mgSodium: 1193.1mgFiber: 1.2gSugar: 1.4g
Keyword Asian, Clear Soups, For Large Groups, Inexpensive, Meat, Rice, Roast Beef, Spicy, Steak, Stocks, Vietnamese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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