Chicken Pho (Pho Ga)

This soup is so warm and comforting! People of all ages love it!

Photo by Allison of Culinary Cupcake

Pho is a noodle soup that originates from Vietnam. Scholars debate whether pho soup was inspired by Chinese or French influences. Pho consists of broth, meat, and rice noodles. It is usually served with herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and fresh chilies. Many people also like having a bit of chili sauce or bean sauce to add to their pho for even more flavor.

Chicken Pho or Pho Ga is near and dear to my heart. It was one of my favorite things to eat as a child. The savory broth, the chewy noodles, and the succulent chicken all melded together to make something magical. I ordered it at restaurants and I loved it when my relatives made it at home. My large extended family usually ate it for holiday dinner during colder months. For Thanksgiving or Christmas we would have the more traditional fare for lunch and then for dinner we would have steaming hot bowls of pho. It is an important tradition I hope to continue. Please enjoy this recipe! I hope it brings new memories and traditions for your family as well!

Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) Recipe

Yields 4 servings

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 2 hours

Specialty Tools: Spice bag, cheese cloth, or spice ball.

Beer Pairing Suggestion: Lager



3 whole star anise

3 whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

1 pound chicken backs

2 pounds bone in chicken pieces

1 piece of ginger (1 inch), peeled

1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half

3 tablespoons fish sauce, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon sugar


8 ounces pho noodles, cooked to package directions

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Garnishes: bean sprouts, Asian basil, chilies, lime wedges, black pepper


Put the star anise, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon stick into spice bag. Set aside.

Place the chicken pieces and chicken backs in a large stock pot. Pour 3 quarts of water over the chicken. Bring to a rapid boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to simmer. Add the ginger, onion, fish sauce, and sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces, but not the chicken backs. Place chicken pieces aside.

Add the spice bag to the pot. Continue to simmer the broth for 90 minutes.

Reduce heat to low. Remove chicken backs and spice bag.

Shred the chicken. You may not need all of the chicken so save some for other recipes like Chao Ga.

To Serve: Place the noodles in preheated bowls. Reheat them in the microwave if they are not warm. Place some chicken and onion on the noodles. Sprinkle some scallions and cilantro on top.

Bring the broth back to a boil and divide evenly among the bowls.

Serve hot. Garnish with bean sprouts, Asian basil, chilies, lime wedges, black pepper.


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