Chicken Pho | A Brief History and Authentic Kitchen Recipe to Try

Chicken Pho

There’s something about a bowl of chicken pho, the aromatic Vietnamese noodle soup, that awakens the senses and nourishes the soul. A fragrant broth, tender chicken, silky rice noodles, and fresh herbs together weave a beautiful symphony of flavors and textures. In this post, we’ll be exploring the fascinating history of chicken pho and sharing an authentic recipe that you can try in your very own kitchen.

The Intriguing Origins of Chicken Pho

The history of Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is steeped in cultural influences and adaptations. While the origins are slightly ambiguous, it’s generally agreed that pho originated in the early 20th century in northern Vietnam. The theory is that French colonization influenced the Vietnamese culinary scene, resulting in a fusion dish that combined the French technique of roasting bones for soup with traditional Vietnamese ingredients.

The classic Pho features beef, known as “Pho Bo.” However, during a period of food shortages in the mid-20th century, a variant emerged – the chicken pho, or “Pho Ga,” which proved to be equally delicious and satisfying.

The Healing Comfort of Chicken Pho

Anyone who has enjoyed a bowl of chicken pho will testify to its soul-soothing properties. It’s more than a meal; it’s a comforting embrace, a wholesome experience that brings warmth, solace, and rejuvenation. In Vietnam, pho is a staple breakfast item, a hearty way to kickstart the day. Yet, its appeal is universal, and it can be savored at any time, be it lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack.

Authentic Chicken Pho Recipe to Try

If you have never attempted to make chicken pho at home, you’re in for a delightful culinary adventure. Here’s a simple, authentic recipe to get you started:


  • Whole chicken (1.5-2 kg)
  • Onion (1, unpeeled and halved)
  • Ginger (a thumb-sized piece, unpeeled)
  • Pho spices (star anise, cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick)
  • Fish sauce, to taste
  • Flat rice noodles
  • Fresh herbs (mint, basil, cilantro)
  • Bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sliced chilli for serving


  1. Char the onion and ginger either on a grill pan or directly on a gas flame until they are blackened. This imparts a smoky depth of flavor to the broth.
  2. In a large pot, place the chicken, charred onion, ginger, Pho spices, and enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken and let it cool. Strain the broth, return to the pot, and season with fish sauce.
  4. Shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones. Cook the noodles as per packet instructions.
  5. To serve, place some noodles and chicken in a bowl, ladle the hot broth over, and garnish with fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedge, and chili.
  6. And voila, your homemade Chicken Pho is ready!

Catering to the Vegan Palate

For those following a plant-based diet, vegan pho offers an equally enticing option. The procedure remains the same, substituting the chicken with tofu and vegetable broth instead.

Conclusion: Pho, A Culinary Delight to Cherish

Whether it’s the traditional chicken pho or the inclusive vegan pho, this dish transcends cultural boundaries, uniting us in our shared love for flavorsome, comforting food. It’s a testament to the ingenuity of Vietnamese culinary traditions and their timeless appeal.

Embracing the preparation of pho at home is more than just creating a meal. It’s a celebration of history, a chance to engage with a different culture, and an opportunity to create something nourishing for yourself and your loved ones.

When you savor your homemade pho, take a moment to reflect on its rich heritage. Each spoonful is a story, a journey through time and across continents, straight into your kitchen. So, roll up your sleeves, and let’s create, enjoy, and honor the heartwarming legacy of chicken pho together!