Authentic Vietnamese Pho Bo Tai Recipe

Beef Pho

Pho Bo Tai, also known as Vietnamese Rare Beef Noodle Soup, is a beloved dish that showcases the rich flavors and aromatic spices of Vietnamese cuisine. This traditional soup features tender slices of rare beef, rice noodles, and a fragrant broth that is simmered with herbs and spices. In this recipe, we will guide you through the process of making a delicious bowl of Pho Bo Tai that will transport you to the streets of Vietnam.


For the broth:

  • 2 kg beef bones (marrow and knuckle bones)
  • 1 kg beef oxtail (optional)
  • 2 onions, charred
  • 5-inch piece of ginger, charred
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

For the soup:

  • 400g rice noodles
  • 400g beef sirloin, thinly sliced
  • Fresh herbs (Thai basil, cilantro, mint)
  • Bean sprouts
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced chili peppers (optional)
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha sauce


  1. Prepare the broth:
    • In a large pot, add the beef bones, oxtail (if using), onions, and ginger. Char them over an open flame or under the broiler until slightly blackened.
    • Fill the pot with enough water to cover the bones and bring it to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse the bones to remove any impurities.
    • Clean the pot and return the bones, onions, and ginger to it.
    • Add the star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, salt, fish sauce, and sugar to the pot.
    • Fill the pot with water, about 6-8 liters, and bring it to a boil. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
    • Reduce the heat to low and let the broth simmer for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, to extract the flavors.
  2. Prepare the toppings and noodles:
    • Soak the rice noodles in cold water for 30 minutes, or until they are soft but still slightly firm.
    • Slice the beef sirloin into thin, bite-sized pieces.
    • Prepare the fresh herbs by washing and separating the leaves.
    • Rinse the bean sprouts and cut the lime into wedges.
    • Set aside the chili peppers, hoisin sauce, and sriracha sauce for serving.
  3. Assemble the Pho:
    • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any solids. Return the broth to the pot and bring it to a gentle simmer.
    • Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions and divide them into serving bowls.
    • Arrange a few slices of raw beef on top of the noodles.
    • Ladle the hot broth over the beef and noodles, ensuring they are fully submerged. The hot broth will cook the beef.
    • Serve the bowls of Pho with a plate of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, chili peppers (if using), hoisin sauce, and sriracha sauce on the side.
    • Each diner can customize their bowl by adding herbs, sprouts, lime juice, and sauces to taste.

Enjoy the aromatic and flavorful Pho Bo Tai, a classic Vietnamese dish that will warm your soul and satisfy your cravings for authentic cuisine