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The History of Pho

Did you know? (Part 2)

The history of Phở can be traced back to an area in Northern Vietnam - Nam Dinh/Hanoi. Pho first appeared in the late 1880s, which was about the time when French colonization of Vietnam started.

There were a lot of interactions between the Vietnamese, French, and Chinese during this time. China and Vietnam are next door neighbors so it is natural for the two to share ideas and recipes while the French, occupying Vietnam from the 1880s to 1954, brought with them the taste and desire for tender beef/steaks. The Vietnamese traditionally used cows for farm work or pulling wheeled vehicles so eating beef was not as common until this era. The wealthy French would eat tender beef and steaks while the leftover bones and scraps were salvaged by the poor Vietnamese workers/cooks. With the mindset of not wasting any food or in this case, leftover beef bones, the poor Vietnamese cooks began experimenting to provide their families enough nutrition to survive as well as making Phở for locals to earn a living.

We all know when there’s adversity – there’s fuel for greatness and creativity. This is where the invention of Phở began to happen.

It is suspected that the source of the term Phở’is actually from the French’s signature beef stew, called pot au feu. The Vietnamese pronounced 'feu' as Phở and over time this term became more common. Phở doesn’t involve lots of vegetables like pot-au-feu does BUT there’s a possible French connection through the charring technique of the ingredients such as ginger, onion etc. as well as adding certain cuts of meat and cartilaginous beef parts (oxtail) to make the Phở broth. It is also suspected that Phở got its influence from Cantonese Chinese dishes such as ngưu nhục phấn or xáo trâu where it is also very likely that Phở xào aka stir-fried Phở noodles ultimately became the Phở rice noodles we use in Phở today.

Historians will have varying degrees of differences when it comes to the origins of Phở, but one thing is for certain, at Hue Oi, you’ll have an Authentic Phở Experience that is as Rich as its History.

📍Hue Oi Vietnamese Cuisine

Fountain Valley, CA

📍Pho Hue Oi

Redondo Beach, CA

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