Lao Pho: Lao-Style Beef Noodle Soup

lao pho recipeLao Pho (Lao-Style Beef Noodle Soup)

Prep Time: 15-30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 hour

You can spot a Lao pho enthusiast in a pho restaurant if they request sugar. Pho may have originated in the neighboring country Vietnam but the homemade beef broth and condiment staples on any Lao table are what sets Lao pho apart from the mainstream recipe of chain-restaurant pho. With this recipe, you can enjoy homemade pho in as little as 30 minutes. For an authentic Lao cuisine experience, offer crisp romaine lettuce and stalks of celery as accompanying sides to dip into shrimp paste.

Vegetarian idea: Have a great vegetable broth! Omit beef and bones and all animal products (oyster sauce has oysters) and follow recipe accordingly. They even have vegetable bouillon cubes available on the market.

Lao Pho Recipe (10-12 servings)

Ingredients for beef broth:

  • half an onion, peeled and charred
  • 1 head of garlic, charred
  • 2 stalks of celery, halved
  • 2 pounds of beef bones
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • water, filled 3/4 of pot

Directions for Lao beef broth:

  1. Add ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce to simmer for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour (recommended) and occasionally remove and discard brown foam from top of broth.
  3. Prepare ingredients for serving.

Ingredients/condiments for serving:

  • 3 packages of dry pho noodles (often seen as “rice stick noodles”)
  • cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, chopped
  • limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 pounds of beef, thinly sliced for fast cooking
  • bean sprouts
  • Thai basil leaves
  • seasoning sauce
  • hot chili sauce
  • oyster flavored sauce
  • beef flavored paste
  • fried garlic
  • sugar
  • black pepper

Directions for ingredients for serving:

  1. Soak 1 package of dry pho noodles in lukewarm water up to 30 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and set aside. I open a new package in anticipation for the next serving because a big batch will dry out on top or get soggy on bottom.
  2. Chop cilantro, green onions, and limes. Set aside on serving platter or reusable containers.
  3. Slice beef and set aside in reusable container and refrigerate until use.
  4. Set out condiments on serving table.

Directions for serving Lao pho:

  1. Place single serving of noodles and sliced beef into a bowl.
  2. Ladle the simmering broth into bowl covering noodles and beef or put noodles and beef into a metal strainer and dip into broth for fast cooking and softer noodles. Be careful when handling hot broth.
  3. Add condiments (about 1-2 teaspoons of each) and vegetables, according to taste.
  4. Refrigerate broth, vegetables, beef, and noodles until ready to use.
  5. Broth is good to use as long as it’s ‘clear’ and not cloudy, which is usually 2 days.

{} Lao Pho Lao-style beef noodle soup{Pin this “pho” later!}

If you need SE Asian inspiration, see other recipes here for Lao Food

What do you love about pho?

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20 thoughts on “Lao Pho: Lao-Style Beef Noodle Soup

  1. Yay! Thanks for the recipe! My husband’s mom makes great Pho for us often, but somehow makes it vegetarian as well. Any ideas on that? What can I use if I’m omitting bones? I’d love to surprise my husband with this sometime.

    • Hi Heidi,

      Do you have a great vegetable stock recipe? I imagine that would be a great base for veggie pho! Honestly, the broth makes pho great so having that and omitting bones and all meat- or meat-based products, of course. Let me know if this option works for you.

  2. My husband always has a mini heart attack when he sees me putting sugar in his “pho” (we call it kuaitiao). We’ve been married 5 years and he still acts like I’m making a terrible mistake… 😒

  3. My husband LOVES LOVES LOVES it when I make PHO on those cold/rainy nights. Gotta love introducing hubby to Lao food and my little guy loves sticky rice and eggs 🙂 The only thing he and the boy don’t like is the Bahn Mi sandwich…they call it the stinky sandwich. LOL Love your blog!

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