Beef Pho Noodle Soup

I am a big fan of noodle soups. Beef Mami, a Filipino-Chinese Noodle soup, is my favorite. I also enjoy experimenting different ingredients to come-up with a good noodle soup dish, and sometimes I end-up with a recipe that is worth posting here. However, there are also instances wherein I am not satisfied with my experiment; and I try to figure out what I should (or should not) do to improve the dish. This delicious Beef Noodle Pho Soup Recipe is one of those noodle soup dishes that I tried to improve until I got completely satisfied.

The secret to a successful Beef Pho Noodle Soup is in the broth. Sure, you can take the shortcut by using commercial beef broth that you can get from the supermarket — but, it is nothing compared to a flavorful beef stock made from beef bones and spices –and patiently simmered to perfection. I guess this is the most important lesson that I learned when making this dish.

I made the beef stock by boiling beef knuckles and shank bones with marrow. Bones are the best source of flavor; the marrow in the bones infuses flavor in the soup. I am lucky to be near a couple of Mexican supermarkets that sell good quality beef. I got some fresh calf foot (knuckle bones) and a few pounds of  beef shank bones or leg bones. You might be familiar with beef shank because this is what we always use to make Bulalo. I will share with you a secret on how to make flavorful beef stock. Yes, you know by now that the bones are the best source of flavor. However, only a few of you might be aware that roasting the bones before boiling them produces a richer beef flavor that will make your soup dish stand out. As for this Pho Noodle Soup recipe, I also discovered that roasting the spices can make a big difference in taste — and that is what I did.

Usually, I use raw sirloin meat to complete any Beef Pho Noodle Soup. I see to it that the sirloin is sliced as thin as possible. Since I do not have a meat slicer, I manually slice the beef as thin as I can. Well, the result is not always what I expect but there is nothing I can do at that point except to use whatever I have. Good thing that I discovered that the Korean supermarket that I get my Filipino ingredients from now sells thinly sliced beef sirloin by the pound. That was really a relief! Now I can concentrate more on other aspects of this dish. By the way, I do not eat the meat raw — it gets cooked right away after I pour the super hot beef stock that I made.

The thing that I like most about Beef Pho Noodle Soup, aside from its flavorful soup, is its fresh taste. This is made possible by adding fresh tasting vegetables such as cilantro and mint. I also enjoy some spice to go with this fresh tasting soup, so I also add a few slices of fresh hot pepper.

This Beef Pho Noodle Soup presents the dish in its simplest form. You can add more vegetables if you like to enhance this dish. Adding some fresh beans sprouts and fresh mint will surely take this to the next level. Also, don’t forget about the fish sauce. Beef Pho and fish sauce always go together.

One more thing — I am using flat rice noodles called Banh Pho to make Pho. This is different from the flour noodles that we typically use in Chicken Mami.

I think that I am now making  progress in terms of Food Photography. Not all cooks know how to take good pictures of their dishes — and I was one of them. I must admit that I was once a lousy food photographer, but I think that the books that I read helped me understand the art and I am almost getting there slowly but surely. What do you think? I guess that the extra time that I spent in reading and practicing paid off. I am excited to see what happens next.

Try this Beef Pho Noodle Soup Recipe. Let me know what you think.

Beef Pho Noodle Soup

Beef Pho Noodle Soup


  • 10 ounces flat rice noodles (Banh Pho)
  • 3 lbs. calf knuckle bones
  • 2 lbs shank bones with marrow
  • 8 to10 cups water
  • 2 lbs. thinly sliced sirloin
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 thumb ginger(about a tablespoon), cut in half
  • 3 pieces star anise
  • 1 black cardamom pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 4 pieces cloves
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 piece green Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 piece red Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 1 bunch fresh Cilantro
  • 3 pieces lime, wedged
  • Sriracha sauce (to taste)
  • Hoisin Sauce (to taste)
  • Fish Sauce (to taste)

Cooking Procedure

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Arrange the bones in a baking tray. Cover with aluminum foil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Put the onion and ginger in the oven. Remove the foil from the bones. Continue to roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the water in large cooking pot.
  6. Once the bones, onion, and ginger are ready, add them in the boiling water. Let it boil for 12 minutes in medium to high heat. This is the part where scum from the meat will float.
  7. Scrape the scum floating on the beef stock. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
  8. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan. When the saute pan gets hot. Put in the cinnamon, fennel, clove, coriander, star anise, and cardamom. Roast in the pan while gently shaking the pan for 5 to 6 minutes. Make sure that you do not over roast the spices as it will taste bitter, so reduce the time as necessary.
  9. Add the roasted spices on the cooking pot where the bones are in. Continue to simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Add more water if needed.
  10. Add some fish sauce to taste. Stir.
  11. Arrange the noodles and sliced sirloin (raw) in a bowl. Pour in the beef broth. (Note: the hot broth will cook the thinly sliced sirloin). Top with cilantro and jalapeno. Add some hoisin sauce and Sriracha sauce to taste (and additional fish sauce as needed).
  12. Serve with lime wedges. Serve!
  13. Share and enjoy!

Number of servings (yield): 8


  1. Maria Hofsli says:

    Hi Vanj!
    Thanks a million for the excellent Pho I have ever tasted in my whole life. I’m entirely surprised how delecious it was in compare to the recipe I’ve learned from my vietnamese freind which is also a very good cook, .Please do continue inspiring us with your fantastic recipe. Best rgds!

  2. NenNen Abadies says:

    I am getting so hungry looking at these delicious dishes. I will definitely try to bake a pandesal recipe I located, make this Beef Pho noodle soup, and Siopao. I will set aside my egg diet for this weekend and splurge on these yummy carbs.

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Greetings. I am so grateful for you have shared your talent to all of us. I just want to know how I can download your e-book. I have already subscribed.

    • Hi Edz, you will see the download link of the ebook from the daily email updates that I send. Please check your mailbox for Panlasang Pinoy’s email. The link can be seen at the bottom of the email.

  4. Pho orinally came from vietnamese! I dont think its a filipino chinese food

    • That is correct, Dixie. If you will read the entire article, you will realize that I was referring to beef mami as a Filipino-Chinese food. :)

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