Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef or chicken. But its stir-fried version is a delicious dish perfect for Hanoi's chilly afternoon.
November 08, 2021 | 08:15
Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon
Typically, a plate of stir-fried 'pho' with beef contains fresh noodle – 'pho', beef and sauce. Besides, it can have oyster mushrooms, onions, juicy seasoned tofu, etc.

When it comes to delicious dishes as well as the variety of Hanoi cuisine, it is clear that there is no end to the story. Pho is best in the morning and fried pho, should definitely be eaten in the evening when the Hanoi season starts to get cold.

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef or chicken. The soup consists of noodles made from rice flour. It must be one of the most famous Vietnamese dishes in the world. People from different cultures enjoy a bowl of pho with hearty broth, tender beef or chicken, and soft noodles.

The dish is associated with the city of Hanoi in which the first Pho restaurant opened in the 1920s. Vietnamese people eat pho on a daily basis, from morning to midnight. There are many street food vendors and restaurants where have pho in their menus. And, in this article, we want to introduce 'fried noodle soup', which is a bit different from the noodle soup, the ingredients, and the ways to process this dish.

Stir-fried pho is very popular in Vietnam, not just in Hanoi. It is enjoyed by people all over the country, from urban areas to the countryside. The soft noodle combines with the fresh, sweet taste of thin, well-marinated beef slices (or chicken), as well as the fragrant, juicy green veggies make this dish one of speciality of Hanoians from the past until now. Actually, it is more simple and quicker to make than traditional noodle soup. A plate of stir-fried pho can be made in just 15 – 20 minutes. Typically, a plate of stir-fried pho with beef contains fresh noodle, beef, bok choy and sauce. Besides, it can have mushrooms, onions, fried tofu, etc.

Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon
Pho noodle soup is not different from stir-fried pho. Both of them include rice noodles, beef, and green vegetables. However, stir-fried pho does not use the broth; instead, it is fried in a pan. Stir-fried noodles are nutritious, delicious and very attractive.


500g rice noodles

200g beef, thinly sliced ​​- about 40 slices

1/2 carrot (thinly sliced ​​at an angle)

1 large tomatoes (cut into wedges)

Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon

1/2 onion (cut into wedges)

1 bunch of bok choy (about 3 handfuls. cut into 1 inch strips)

1 cup broth (optional)

1/2 tbsp tapioca flour

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 tablespoons seasoning

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoons pepper, garlic.

4 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Cooking oil


-Marinate the beef. Place beef in a bowl then add ½ a tablespoon of fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce, ½ teaspoon of salt, ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon cooking oil and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Gently mix with your hands.

Then add in the minced garlic and mix again. Set aside.

-Prepare the vegetables. Remove and discard the stems of the bok choy. Then cut into 1-inch strips and set aside with cut carrot, tomato and onion.

- If your noodles were refracted at the time of purchase then you will need to slightly warm them up to be able to separate them. Process with the following steps. If you had purchased your noodles and they are already soft and at room temperature then you can skip this step.

Place the refracted noodles on a plate and microwave for 2 minutes. Then place another plate on top of the noodles and flip the noodles over. Remove the upper plate and microwave for 1 more minute. Afterward, the noodles should still be a bit stiff. Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl and use your hands to separate the noodles. Set aside.

-Make the stir fry sauce. In a bowl add 1 tablespoon fish sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon seasoning, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 4 tablespoons water, and ½ teaspoon of sesame oil. Stir and set aside.

Stir-fried Pho, A Dish Born for Hanoi's Winter Afternoon

- Heat a wok until smoking hot. Then add in 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil. Add in the minced garlic and noodles. Give it a quick toss over medium-low heat then let the noodles sit undisturbed in the pan for about a minute or two or until the noodles are slightly crispy.

Then toss the noodles and add 4 tablespoons of the stir fry sauce to the pan. Once the noodles are coated with the sauce (turned brown), turn off the heat and transfer the noodles to a large platter. Then give the wok a quick wipe.

Cook the beef in the same wok. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and once it is hot, sauté the minced garlic. Then add in the beef and stir well over high heat. Leave the beef undisturbed for 1 minute or so to allow it to brown. Then toss for a few seconds and cook until the beef is about 70% done. Do not cook the beef all the way otherwise it will be tough and dry.

Then transfer the cooked beef to a plate and set aside. Use the same wok to stir-fry the onion and vegetables.

-Turn the heat on to medium and add in 1 tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot add in the carrots. Cook for 2 minutes.

Then add in the onions and if the bottom of the pan is dry add another tablespoon of vegetable oil. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Now reduce the heat to medium-low and add in the tomatoes as well as the rest of the stir fry sauce. Cook for another 2 minutes.

Finally, add in the bok choy and cook the bok choy until it is wilted.

-Add 1 cup of broth, wait 1-2 minutes, season to taste.

-Quickly add the stir-fried beef. Mix tapioca flour with a little water, stir well until the sauce thickens, turn off the heat. Scoop out and place on a plate of fried pho and drizzle the thick sauce on top, sprinkle with pepper, chili (optional) and serve hot.


The salty and sweet sauce must be soaked into each noodle fiber, mixed into the vegetables with beef.

The dish can be accompanied with a plate of raw vegetables and pickled green papaya or cucumber slices.

Depending on your taste, you can stir-fry pho with pork heart/kidneys and favorite vegetables and shitake mushrooms.

The vegetarian version can be cooked with sliced ​​deep fried tofu, shredded carrots and bok choy.

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