How to Eat Pho

There is no wrong way to eat pho. But according to pho experts, there is definitely a right way to enjoy this delicious bowl of noodles. We consulted Vietnamese food experts Andrea Nguyen of the award-winning cookbook, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, Cuong Huynh of Lovingpho.com and Tom Huynh, a self-professed pho purist, to find the proper way to eat pho. So next time you’re at a pho restaurant, you don’t have to look like a newbie. (You still can but at least now you’ll know why.)


Here’s our no-fail guide to eating pho – the right way.

1.  Pick your pho. This can be chicken, beef, meatballs or a combination of everything. As Andrea Nguyen says, pho is a “have-it-your-way” experience. There’s a bowl of pho for everyone. Find yours.

2.  Appreciate the broth. Take in the fragrance, taste the broth, and do not add condiments just yet! A bowl of pho is a chef’s work of art. As Cuong Huynh notes, this process “helps you appreciate [the] poetry in a bowl.“ So before adding anything, taste the broth, then decide if you prefer something different. But “Please, for goodness sake, do not add sugar to your bowl. It’s sacrilegious,” pleads Tom Huynh.

3.  Dig in, or change it up. If you like the pho as-is, dig in – chopsticks in one hand, soup spoon in the other. Otherwise, add condiments and sauces slowly. Taste how each addition changes the broth. Consider adding condiments as you go; for example, tear some Thai basil into the broth in the beginning, then midway and finally, as you finish your bowl of pho. Not sure how to work the condiments? Check out our Guide to Having Pho Your Way!

How do you eat your pho? Do you enjoy the broth as-is or do you add condiments? How do you make it yours? Comment below and enter to win Sprinkles cupcake mixes!


18 Comments add one

  1. Carrie M says:

    I eat my pho with chicken and that’s it.

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  2. MAMOTTS says:

    I eat it with broth generally..like on fb

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  3. with broth! yummy!

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  4. Savor it just as it is

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  5. Someone once said “life is like a bowl of pho.” It comes with noodles, broth, and meat. You spice it up and make it yours. I add lots of condiments. Basil leaves, black pepper, pickled jalapenos, fried chilli peppers, lime juice, sriracha, and whatever else my tastebuds crave.

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  6. Dana says:

    with chicken

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  7. April Lane says:

    I don’t think I have even eaten it but would love to try it!

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  8. I enjoy Vegetarain Pho topped with grilled tofu.

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  9. I’ve never had Pho but am looking for a place that makes it.

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  10. manda says:

    I like it with broth!

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  11. Sammi says:

    I’ve never had it – but it looks great, I’d make some

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  12. Roxy says:

    i haven’t had pho in forever, and i discovered a vietnamese area in my town. I gotta try!

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  13. Lynn says:

    I eat my pho with eye round steak, onions, cilantro, basil, Hoisin and Sriracha sauce.

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  14. Jacie Wright says:

    I love it with beef and thick noodles and a hot sauce to add a kick!

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  15. Tim says:

    I eat my pho with diced chicken breasts

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  16. David says:

    I have never had Pho, so I guess I am in for a new experience regardless of how I enjoy it.

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  17. Jeff says:

    Having lived near Westminster/Garden Grove (Little Saigon) in Cali, my Vietnamese friends have taught me how great Pho can be a magical experience. You might call me a professional Pho eater. I usually get “the works” including tripe, meatballs, and other beef. Once it hits the table I first get a deep whiff of the warm aromas before plunging my spoon in for the first sip of broth. I then start to add the soybeans and delicious sprigs of mint to the bowl, a few squirts of lime if I’m feeling particularly zesty that day. I shortly follow my garnishing up with mixing hoisin and “rooster” sauce in a small side cup to dip the meatballs into. Armed with a spoon in my left and chopsticks in my right, I dive down a bit to pull some noodles to the top and mix my delicious, beef cocktail. What comes next is a cycle of slurping noodles, dipping meats, and sighing contentedly before glancing quickly around the restaurant and slyly picking the bowl up with both hands to finish off those last drips of broth pooled at the bottom.

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