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Faux Pho - Vietnamese Beef Soup Print E-mail

This is a streamlined version of the traditional Vietnamese Beef Soup called Pho (pronounced Foh). We used canned beef broth instead of making our own from scratch and we cut the number of spices down to just a few.

We were able to buy the thinly sliced rare roast beef at the deli counter of our local supermarket. But you can use left-over roast beef as well. It doesn't have to be thinly sliced. It can be cut into matchsticks.

Fish sauce is available in the Asian food section of most large grocery stores. If you can't find it, don't worry. The recipe tastes great without it.

Each person at the table gets to add things from the condiment plate. The cilantro and bean sprouts make the soup look festive and the crunch factor is wonderful. A squeeze of lime brightens the flavor. If you just float the jalapeno in the bowl, it will add an undertone of heat. Just don't bite into it, unless you have experience with eating hot peppers.

{Makes 2 dinner-sized servings}

You'll need:

  • 1 bundle of rice stick noodles
  • 2 cans of beef broth
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce - optional
  • 1/8 pound of thinly sliced, rare roast beet
  • 1 thinly sliced jalapeno pepper - optional
  • Sprigs of fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh bean sprouts
  • A little adult help


  • A medium-sized pot
  • A plate
  • A small bowl
  • A large spoon
  • Tongs
  • Pot holders
  • A ladle
  • 2 large soup bowls
  1. Have all your ingredients ready. The soup cooks very quickly!
  2. Soak the rice stick noodles in hot water. Check the package for time. It usually is 3-5 minutes.
  3. Arrange the jalapeno, cilantro, lime and bean sprouts on the plate.
  4. Heat the beef broth.
  5. Add the onions, ginger, cinnamon, sugar and fish sauce. Cook until onions get transparent - about 5 minutes.
  6. Arrange the rice noodles at the bottom of the soup bowls.
  7. Using the tongs, dip the beef slices into the hot broth. Remove them as soon as the meat loses its red color. Leaving a little pink is good. Set the meat in the small bowl.
  8. Ladle the soup into the bowls. Add half the beef to each bowl.
  9. Serve the soup with the plate of garnish.