What to Order at Pho Restaurant

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese dish. It is considered a national dish in Vietnam. It is a tasty dish made of meat, rice noodles, and various other toppings. Today, you can enjoy Pho in many parts of the world at Pho restaurants. 

So, what to order at Pho restaurant? This article answers just that! We will highlight the different Pho variations that you can order.

What Is Pho? Things to Know About What to Order at Pho Restaurant

Pho, which is hailed as the national dish of Vietnam, has gained popularity around the world. While you may be familiar with Pho, there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. This beloved Vietnamese dish offers a world of flavors to explore. Let’s delve into this dish more to know what to order at Pho restaurant.

You can make Pho with various types of meat, such as beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, or even vegetables. The heart of Pho is the broth, which is simmered or cooked for hours, resulting in a deep, satisfying flavor. Some forms of Pho are seasoned generously, while others remain with minimal spices and toppings. Pho, much like curries in Indian cuisine, is an endlessly customizable staple that has captured the hearts of many.

Different sources tell different stories about the origins of Pho. Some sources trace Pho back to the late 1800s in Northern Vietnam. However, most sources believe that Pho originated in the mid-twentieth century. Others believe it was influenced by Chinese rice noodles, known as fun in Cantonese. Regardless of its exact origins, it’s undeniable that the world of Pho has expanded to include a multitude of variations.

In recent years, people from all over the world have developed an understanding and appreciation for this historic dish. However, there is still much to learn and explore about what to order at Pho restaurants when it comes to Pho, particularly outside of Vietnamese communities.

Common Types of Pho

1. Beef Pho (Pho Bo)

Beef Pho (Pho Bo) is a beef version of Pho. Made with beef cuts from different parts, beef Pho is probably the most popular variation. It is usually flavored with dried spices such as cloves, coriander, cinnamon, and star anise.  

2. Mixed Pho (Pho Tron)

Mixed Pho or Pho Tron is a classic Vietnamese pho variety. Unlike most pho varieties, Pho Tron is dry. It doesn’t contain broth. In contrast, it is a salad with meat. 

In this version, instead of having the broth served separately, the ingredients are mixed in a tantalizing medley. It typically consists of rice noodles, various types of sliced meat (such as beef, chicken, or pork), fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and sometimes fried shallots. 

3. Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

Chicken Pho is a traditional Vietnamese Pho made with chicken.  Made with a flavorful chicken broth, tender chicken slices or shredded chicken, and rice noodles, it offers a lighter and more delicate taste compared to beef pho. 

The broth in chicken Pho is lighter and clearer than the one in Pho Bo (Beef). Other ingredients used include shallots, green onions, shallots, and ginger.

4. Stir-Fried Pho (Pho Xao)

This is another dry variation of Pho. It is regarded as a more convenient option as it uses similar components. The difference is that the ingredients are stir-fried. Also, the fact that it is dry means it does not have broth. Generally, Pho Xao is prepared with chicken or beef, noodles, and sliced vegetables. It can be seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce (on Amazon), or oyster sauce. 

5. Pho Rolls (Pho Cuon)

Pho Cuon is a slightly different Pho variety. It takes a different approach from traditional Vietnamese cuisine but applies that same style. Essentially, Pho Cuon is rolled Pho. It is made up of noodle rolls that are uncut and used as wrapping paper and then filled with stir-fried beef, onions, garlic, pepper, and lettuce. They are served with a dipping sauce. 

6. Vegan Pho (Pho chay)

Looking for a vegan version? Enter Pho Chay.

This is a vegan Pho version. The broth is made up of ginger, mushrooms, spices, soy sauce, and ginger. However, there are many other variations, the bottom line being they are all vegan.

While these are the most common types of Pho, here are some noteworthy variations: Pho Hai San (Seafood), Pho Chua (Sour), and Pho Bo Tai Chin (Beef Pho from Northern Vietnam). 

Looking for a definitive guide to all the meat options available for Pho? Check out this Pho meat guide.

Tips for Ordering and Enjoying Pho

Now that you know what to order at Pho restaurant, some quick tips will help you enjoy the experience. Here are some tips:

1. Explore the Menu

Never be quick to make your order. Instead, take your time to read through the menu and familiarize yourself with the different pho variations available. There is no shame in whipping out your phone to do a quick Google search. Better still, you can ask the waiter for guidance. They will be happy to help. Hence, you’ll know what to order at Pho restaurant.

2. Customize to Your Preference

Pho is a customizable dish. You can always tailor it to suit your needs. If you have specific dietary restrictions, talk to your server. You can request adjustments like extra herbs, no onions, or additional spice levels to suit your palate.

3. Add Some Side Dishes

Enhance your pho experience by ordering popular side dishes that complement the flavors of the soup. Spring rolls, crispy fried dumplings, or fresh Vietnamese salads make excellent accompaniments to your Pho bowl.

4. Pair with Beverages

Traditional Vietnamese beverages like iced coffee with condensed milk (ca phe sua da) or Vietnamese iced tea (tra da) pair well with pho. These refreshing drinks balance the richness of the broth and enhance the overall dining experience.


Exploring the world of pho at a Vietnamese restaurant offers a delightful culinary adventure. With its rich history, diverse flavors, and customizable options, pho has captivated the palates of people worldwide. 

This article has discussed the common Pho variations that you can order at a Vietnamese restaurant. Remember to explore the menu before making your order. The best part is that you can always ask if you are not sure.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do you pronounce “Pho”?

“Pho” is pronounced as “fuh.” The “ph” is pronounced like an “f,” and the “o” is pronounced as a short “uh” sound. So, it sounds like “fuh.”

2. Can I adjust the spice level of pho?

Absolutely! Pho is a customizable dish. You can change everything to suit your preference. This is why there are so many variations for you to try out. If you are after a spicy kick, ask for chilly sauce. 

3. How do I eat pho? Are there any traditional eating techniques?

Eating pho involves a few traditional customs and techniques. Firstly, you should use chopsticks to pick up the noodles, meat, and other toppings in the bowl. The spoon is used to scoop and sip the broth. Remember to slurp the noodles. Yes, you read that right. Slurping is thought of as a sign that you are enjoying the dish in Vietnamese culture.