What to Add to Instant Pho?

Instant Pho is not a new recipe trend or food. It has been a part of Americans’ guilty pleasures and culinary curiosities for years. It is a perfect go-to idea for satisfying your weeknight cravings or a healthy lunch with friends. Pho is a nutrient-dense soup that provides a great deal of proteins, minerals, and vitamins to strengthen your joints and bones.

The backbone of the dish is its robust, aromatic, deeply savory bone broth flavored with nutritious herbs. It is basically a Vietnamese soup filled with sliced thin meat, typically beef and rice noodles. Pho is served garnished with yellow onions and scallions. Some toppings, such as bean sprouts, fresh herbs, chiles, and a lime wedge, are served on separate plates at restaurants.

`The ingredients in pho are modifiable and depend on one’s personal preferences. You can substitute beef with chicken and seafood. Premium meats from specialty Vietnamese restaurants are also offered. `

Hence, in this guide, we will be discussing what to add to instant pho. You may be ordering pho at restaurants or making it at home. This guide will familiarize you with all the ingredients you can pick to enjoy a pho soup bowl that you truly love and enjoy.

Ingredients Needed for an Instant Pho Bowl

But not all people, or a single person at all times can stick to the same ingredients. Instant Pho is a highly versatile and customizable dish you can have at your table. It comes in several styles to meet the taste preferences of its global fans.

  • Chicken pho
  • Beef pho
  • Oxtail pho
  • Squid pho
  • Vegetarian pho
  • Fish pho

Hence, you can choose the pho type you are in a quick mood to enjoy. Below is a list of ingredients you can choose to settle your query for what to add to instant pho.

Meat Choices for Pho

In meat choices for pho, you have the freedom to pick beef, chicken, seafood, or premium meats. Special meat cuts of beef are also used to make pho flavorful. So, you can order a bowl of pho soup that contains your favorite cut of meat in it.

Beef Meat

Beef is a highly nutritious meat selection to add to your instant pho bowl. Some of its cuts are tough, some are tender, and some are highly flavorful.


Tai beef comprises thinly sliced round-eye steak used for pho. It comes in raw form and you can cook it in any form you want, either using plenty of lime or hot pipping pho broth. As the slices are very thin, they easily cook and change their color.


This meat portion comes from the cow’s chest. It consists of alternating layers of meat and fat that give the pho a perfect fatty flavor. While choosing lean brisket, remember that they are low in fat and do not contribute as much flavor as fatty brisket.


Tendon meat adds gelatinous texture and tantalizing richness to pho soup. It comes from thick strong tendons of cow that run down the shank. They are easy to eat, soft, and may taste a bit foreign to some people. So pick only if you are okay with this taste.


If you want a complete beefy flavor, go with the underside portions of the cows, near the hind legs. Flank steaks are a bit tough and can be chewy. But in pho, these steaks come thinly sliced so you won’t find any difficulty enjoying them.

Oxtail-Dui Bo

If you are an experimental eater and want to go beyond typical meat flavors, try oxtail pho. It is not a common food item that you can find at any restaurant. Moreover, it comes with a lot of nutritional benefits and a big price tag. Its bony and cartilaginous part gives a rich flavor to pho broth. So give it a try if you have a strong taste profile. Otherwise, omit it and go for other varieties.

Bo Vien

If you love meatballs, Bo Vien is a great addition. The meat comes from the cow shank and contains both cartilage and tendons. Ground beef with seasonings churned and pasted into round balls makes your instant pho bowl worth enjoying.

Chicken Breast

Pho restaurants offer a wide choice of meats which also include chicken breasts. Sliced chicken breasts are added to boiling broth and left simmering for about 15-20 minutes. It saves time and provides tenderness of chicken meat in a palatable pho bowl.


Seafood is another meat idea to make your pho bowl rich in flavors and antioxidants. Quit regular meat and add fish, shrimp, scallops, and squid to your instant pho bowl. It comes highly seasoned and broiled in broth thus giving off a delicious taste.

Alternatively, you can go for vegetarian pho or premium offerings like lobster tail, filet mignon, and wagyu beef. But these cuts are only available in some specialty Vietnamese restaurants.

Depending on the ingredients used in an instant pho bowl, its nutritional benefits and price increase. A typical pho bowl costs $10-20. However, the most expensive bowl in the world costs $5000. The ingredients used in it include:

  • Highest grade wagyu beef.
  • Poached foie gras broth made from fatty duck liver.
  • Personally grown sprout beans.
  • Rice noodles made from lobster meat using a molecular gastronomy technique.


Hoisin Sauce: 

A good amount is added to make the broth salty and provide pho a delicious umami flavor.


A gentle touch of lime juice to boost the savory pho flavor.

Bean Sprouts:

Add a bit of texture and freshness to your bowl.

Rice Noodles:

Cook them as per instructions given on the package.


A mix of basil, cilantro, mint, and scallions can be excellent garnishings.


Pho is a delicious Vietnamese dish made with beef steak, broth, and herbs. It is locally available in Vietnamese restaurants with varying ingredients. Whether you order an instant pho bowl [Link for the articles on ”how to order pho] at a restaurant or prepare by yourself at home, you can get it customized all the way. Beef, chicken, premium meat cuts, and seafood are wide options to add to instant pho alternatively. Go one step further, add herbs and vegetables you love, and enjoy a highly appetizing pho soup.