Pho Thai

Vietnamese pho noodles in Thai spicy and sour soup with shrimp, mushrooms, and refreshing basil, a quick and easy recipe for a cold dreary day.

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

Vietnamese pho + Thai Tom Yum = Pho Thai

This Vietnamese and Thai fusion noodle soup is so delicious I have to share it with everyone at Fiesta Friday!

Spicy from one chili pepper, slightly sour from lemon juice, and even a little sweet from the grape tomatoes, this noodle soup is filled with so many flavors.

It’s been so cold and foggy in San Francisco these last few days, I’ve only wanted soup to keep me nice and toasty warm. This Pho Thai is the perfect remedy for that.

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

I used to obsess over Vietnamese pho. It was my absolute favorite dish growing up. I was always excited for Sunday to come because that’s when we’d go to our favorite pho restaurant. I could have eaten it every single day and not be tired of it. Yes, that’s how delicious I thought it was. Rice noodles and thin tender slices of beef in a warm beef broth topped with cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, and thinly sliced jalapeno. If you like, you can also dip with hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot sauce. It’s like the most amazing dish ever. At least, I always thought so.

However, several years ago, I gave up beef for personal reasons. Have you ever had those moments where you make promises or bargains with yourself? If I pass all of my final exams, I won’t read romance novels for the next three months. If my grandpa gets better, I promise to spend more time with him. If no other family member dies every nine months (it happened three times), I’ll stop eating beef. I know some of these promises were silly while others were more serious, but I kept all of them. Even if it just happened to be coincidences.

You won’t see beef recipes on my blog. Do I miss beef? To be honest, I don’t miss beef itself as much as I miss beef pho. lol

I haven’t had beef pho in over eight years. Yes, I kept count. lol. I’ve had chicken pho, but it’s just not the same. The flavor is different.

Then I discovered a Vietnamese restaurant in Milpitas that served Pho Thai, a combination of Vietnamese pho with Thai Tom Yum. It was soo tasty; I knew I discovered a new favorite. Unfortunately, that restaurant has since closed so I decided to make my own. I hope that you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

Looking at the list of ingredients, I know it looks overwhelming, but the recipe is relatively simple. Some of the ingredients, such as lemongrass, kefir lime leaves, and galangal, can be frozen until you’re ready to use them. And if you’re like me, you’ll be making either Tom Yum (Thai Spicy and Sour Soup with Shrimp) or Pho Thai often.

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

First, boil chicken broth in a medium sized pot. Once the broth starts to boil, add in lemon grass, kefir lime leaves, and galangal. If you don’t have galangal, it’s okay. You don’t have to add it. It just helps enhance the flavors in the soup. But lemongrass and kefir lime leaves do a great job flavoring the soup too.

Once the soup becomes aromatic, add in the onions and the mushrooms. Cook them until they have softened.



Add in the fish sauce, chili paste, and lemon juice. If you like your soup spicy, add sliced chili peppers. Stir to evenly distribute the flavoring. You can add more of each until it’s the perfect flavor for you.

You’ll notice that this recipe is slightly different than the Thai Spicy and Sour Soup with Shrimp, even though you’re making the same dish. The reason for that is the other recipe is meant as an appetizer and eaten alone so there are more ingredients and less seasoning. But with Pho Thai, you’re adding noodles. You want there to be less ingredients and slightly more flavor. Otherwise, the noodles, which have no flavor itself, will be bland, and the overwhelming amount of ingredients such as tomatoes and mushrooms will overcrowd the dish.

You can find detailed step by step instructions for Tom Yum in the Thai Spicy and Sour Soup with Shrimp post.

Add in chopped tomatoes and cook until they have softened.


Allow the soup to simmer at very low heat.

In a small pot, boil water. You will use this water to cook the pho noodles. I use the brand below. It is super easy to cook.



All you have to do is wait for the water to boil and then drop the noodles in the pot. Swirl the noodles around for about 20-30 seconds until the noodles have softened. And that’s it. Easy, right?

If you’re serving the noodles right away, you can just place it in the bowl you’ll serve the noodles in. If not, make sure to run the noodles through cold water to prevent the noodles from continuing to cook and from sticking to each other. Just like with pasta. I highly recommend doing this step; otherwise the noodles will form a clump.


Back to the simmering soup. Add in grape tomatoes and shrimp. The grape tomatoes are optional. However, I feel they add a lot of flavor to this soup because grape tomatoes tend to be sweeter. I loved it in mine. =) Cook the shrimp until they turn from gray and translucent to a solid orange color.


Use a ladle to pour the soup over the noodles.

Top the noodles with cilantro, basil leaves, bean sprouts, and jalapeno if desired.

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

Serve immediately hot and enjoy!

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

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For a printer friendly version of this recipe, click here.

Click on the image below for an enlarged version of this recipe.

Pho Thai | Cooking with a Wallflower

166 thoughts on “Pho Thai

  1. Pingback: Going Vegetarian for Fiesta Friday #18 | The Novice Gardener

  2. That looks so good! Living in Viña del Mar in Chile there are a couple of things we really miss. One is spicy food. It seems most Chilenos don’t care for spicy food. The other is heat. Buildings here aren’t heated even though our weather is almost identical to San Francisco. Cheers, Wooly and Raeski


  3. This looks fantastic, with Tom Yum being one of my favourites I grow my own lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves, so this will be in the pot tonight…thanks.


  4. Thank yo for like my blog about taking St. Anthony with me on my world-wide trip. I love your recipes, and since my son and daughter in law have become vegan eaters, so of these will come in handy when I don’t know what to make! Such lovely photography, too!


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