The Search for Pho in Korea: What You Need to Know

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle dish that has gained popularity throughout the world. Many people wonder if this dish: Does Korea have pho? In this article, we will explore the popularity of pho in Korea and its availability for locals and tourists.

What is Pho?

Pho is a traditional Vietnamese soup made with beef or chicken broth, rice noodles, herbs, and spices. The dish is typically served with additional ingredients like bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sliced jalapenos. Pho has become a trendy dish globally due to its unique taste and health benefits.

Who Eats Pho in Korea?

Who Eats Pho in Korea
Who Eats Pho in Korea

Pho has gained popularity among Koreans due to the growing number of Vietnamese restaurants opening up in major cities like Seoul, Busan, and Daegu. Korean food enthusiasts and tourists are also trying out pho in food trucks and street food markets. The dish has become a staple among foreigners living in Korea who crave authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

Does Korea Have Pho? What You Need to Know

Availability of Pho in Korea
Availability of Pho in Korea

Vietnamese cuisine, particularly its signature dish, pho, has gained popularity around the world in recent years, including among Koreans. While Korean cuisine is known for its strong flavors and bold spices, pho offers a different taste experience with its light and refreshing broth and fragrant herbs.

Fortunately for those living in major cities, finding pho in Vietnamese restaurants should be relatively easy. Many Vietnamese restaurants are located in areas with high concentrations of international residents, making it relatively easy to find pho in these regions. In addition, due to its popularity among Koreans, some Korean restaurants have started serving pho as well, offering a unique blend of Vietnamese and Korean flavors.

However, it’s important to note that pho availability may vary depending on the region. Some areas may have few Vietnamese restaurants or international residents, which could make finding pho more challenging. Nonetheless, with the growing popularity of Vietnamese cuisine worldwide, one can expect to find pho in more and more places, even in areas where it may not traditionally be available.

How to Make Pho at Home

How to Make Pho at Home
How to Make Pho at Home

For those who want to enjoy pho at home, there are plenty of recipes available online. Making pho from scratch takes time and effort, but the result is worth it. Here is a simple recipe for making beef pho:


  • 2 lbs beef bones
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 ginger root, peeled and sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-star anise pods
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds
  • 8 cups water
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 1 lb rice noodles
  • 1 lb beef sirloin, thinly sliced
  • Bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapenos, and herbs for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place the beef bones on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, add the onion and ginger and char them over high heat.
  3. Add the roasted beef bones, cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and water into the pot.
  4. Simmer the broth for 6-8 hours.
  5. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  6. Season the broth with salt and sugar to taste.
  7. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions.
  8. Divide the noodles into bowls and top with the sliced beef.
  9. Pour the hot broth over the beef and noodles.
  10. Garnish with bean sprouts, lime wedges, jalapenos, and herbs.

Pros and Cons of Pho


  • Healthy ingredients like vegetables and lean meats
  • Delicious and unique taste
  • Easy to customize by adding or omitting ingredients


  • High in sodium due to the use of broth
  • Difficult to find authentic pho in some regions
  • Time-consuming to make from scratch

Alternatives to Pho

If you can’t find pho or want to try something different, here are some Vietnamese dishes worth trying:

  • Bun Cha: Grilled pork served with vermicelli noodles and dipping sauce
  • Banh Mi: Vietnamese sandwich with meat, pickled vegetables, and herbs in a baguette
  • Goi Cuon: Fresh spring rolls filled with shrimp, pork, and vegetables
  • Bun Bo Hue: Spicy beef noodle soup

Tips for Enjoying Pho

  • Squeeze lime juice over the pho to add acidity.
  • Add sliced jalapenos if you like them spicy.
  • Use chopsticks and a spoon to eat the noodles and broth.
  • Dip the herbs into the broth before eating.

The Best Places to Try Pho in Korea

The Best Places to Try Pho in Korea
The Best Places to Try Pho in Korea

Some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Korea to try pho are:

  • Hoa Viet in Itaewon, Seoul
  • Pho Bay in Busan
  • Cafe Vietnam in Hongdae, Seoul
  • Gia Hoi in Sinchon, Seoul


So, does Korea have pho? Pho has become increasingly popular in Korea due to the growing number of Vietnamese restaurants and street food vendors. Koreans can enjoy this delicious dish at authentic Vietnamese restaurants or make it at home with simple ingredients. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, trying out pho is a must-do experience in Korea.

FAQs after the conclusion:

  1. What is the history of pho?
  2. Is pho2. Is pho a healthy dish?
  3. Can I find vegetarian or vegan pho in Korea?
  4. What are some common mispronunciations of pho?
  5. How do I know if a Vietnamese restaurant serves authentic pho?

1. What is the history of pho?

Pho originated in Northern Vietnam during the late 19th century and was sold by street vendors who carried their ingredients on shoulder poles. The dish became popular among soldiers and civilians during the Vietnam War and eventually spread to other countries. Today, pho is a beloved dish that represents Vietnamese cuisine globally.

2. Is pho a healthy dish?

Pho can be healthy as it contains vegetables, lean meats like chicken or beef, and rice noodles. However, the broth used in pho can be high in sodium, so moderation is key. Making pho at home with low-sodium broth and fresh ingredients is a healthier option.

3. Can I find vegetarian or vegan pho in Korea?

Some Vietnamese restaurants in Korea have started to offer vegetarian or vegan options for pho. It’s best to check with the restaurant beforehand regarding their vegan or vegetarian menu options.

4. What are some common mispronunciations of pho?

The correct pronunciation of pho is “fuh” or “fuhh”. Some common mispronunciations include “foe”, “poe”, or “foo”.

5. How do I know if a Vietnamese restaurant serves authentic pho?

Authentic pho should have a clear, flavorful broth made from simmering bones and spices for several hours. The noodles should be soft yet chewy, and the meat should be thinly sliced and tender. Look for Vietnamese restaurants run by Vietnamese owners or chefs and read reviews online to gauge authenticity.

About Yen Le

Welcome to Bunker Vietnamese, a website dedicated to exploring the diverse world of Vietnamese cuisine. As a proud Vietnamese-American, my passion for cooking and sharing my cultural heritage has led me to create this platform. Join me on this culinary journey and discover the vibrant flavors and textures that make Vietnamese food so unique and delicious.

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