Discover the Truth: Does Pho Contain Sesame Oil?

As a lover of pho, I often wonder about the ingredients that go into this delicious Vietnamese noodle soup. One question that frequently comes up is does pho have sesame oil. After doing some research and speaking with chefs and restaurant owners, I have found that the answer is not a simple yes or no.

In fact, many pho restaurants do not use sesame oil at all in their broth. However, it is important to note that the use of sesame oil can vary depending on the region of Vietnam and the personal preferences of the chef. So, if you have a sesame allergy or simply do not like the taste of sesame, it is always best to ask your server or the restaurant owner about the ingredients in their pho before ordering.

What Exactly is Pho?

What Exactly is Pho
What Exactly is Pho

Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that is usually served with beef or chicken. It is a popular street food in Vietnam and has become increasingly popular in other parts of the world. Pho is made by simmering beef bones, onions, ginger, and spices for several hours to create a rich and flavourful broth. The broth is then served with rice noodles, meat, and fresh herbs.

Pho is a dish that is typically eaten for breakfast, but it can also be enjoyed at any time of the day. It is a hearty and satisfying meal that is perfect for cold and rainy days. The dish is usually served with a side of bean sprouts, lime wedges, and fresh herbs such as Thai basil and coriander.

There are many variations of pho, depending on the region of Vietnam where it is made. Some variations include adding different types of meat, such as beef brisket, meatballs, or tripe. Vegetarian versions of pho are also available, which use vegetable broth and tofu instead of meat.

Overall, pho is a delicious and comforting dish that is enjoyed by many people around the world. Its popularity continues to grow, and it is now a staple in many Vietnamese restaurants around the world.

Ingredients Used in Pho

Ingredients Used in Pho
Ingredients Used in Pho

Pho is a popular Vietnamese noodle soup that’s enjoyed all over the world. It’s made with a variety of ingredients that come together to create a delicious and hearty meal. In this section, I’ll discuss the common and uncommon ingredients that are used in pho.

Common Ingredients

The following ingredients are commonly used in pho:

  • Rice noodles: These thin, flat noodles are made from rice flour and are a staple in pho.
  • Beef or chicken broth: The broth is the base of the soup and gives it its rich, savoury flavour.
  • Meat: Sliced beef or chicken is added to the soup and cooked in the broth.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, and mint are added to the soup just before serving.
  • Bean sprouts: These crunchy sprouts add texture and freshness to the soup.
  • Lime: A squeeze of fresh lime juice brightens up the soup and adds a tangy flavour.
  • Fish sauce: This salty, umami-rich sauce is used to season the broth.

Uncommon Ingredients

While the above ingredients are the most common, there are some less common ingredients that can be added to pho to give it a unique twist. These include:

  • Sesame oil: Some recipes call for a drizzle of sesame oil to be added to the soup for extra flavour.
  • Star anise: This spice is used to flavour the broth and gives it a slightly sweet, liquorice-like taste.
  • Cinnamon: Another spice that’s used to flavour the broth and give it a warm, comforting taste.
  • Hoisin sauce: This sweet and savoury sauce is sometimes added to the soup for extra flavour.
  • Sriracha: A spicy chilli sauce that can be added to the soup for those who like a bit of heat.

Overall, pho is a delicious and versatile dish that can be customized to suit your tastes. Whether you prefer a classic bowl of beef pho or like to experiment with different ingredients, there’s no denying that pho is a comforting and satisfying meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

Sesame Oil in Pho

Sesame Oil in Pho
Sesame Oil in Pho

Does Pho Have Sesame Oil?

When it comes to the ingredients used in pho, sesame oil is not a common choice. In fact, many traditional pho recipes do not call for sesame oil at all. However, some modern variations of pho may include sesame oil as an optional ingredient.

Why Use Sesame Oil in Pho?

Sesame oil is known for its nutty and slightly sweet flavour, which can add a unique taste to pho. Additionally, sesame oil is a good source of healthy fats, vitamin E, and antioxidants. While sesame oil may not be a traditional ingredient in pho, it can be a healthy and tasty addition.

Alternatives to Sesame Oil

If you are allergic to sesame or simply do not like the taste of sesame oil, there are alternative ingredients you can use in pho. Some options include:

  • Peanut oil: This oil has a similar nutty flavour to sesame oil and is a good source of healthy fats.
  • Coconut oil: This oil has a mild, sweet flavour and can add a tropical twist to pho.
  • Vegetable oil: This oil is neutral in flavour and can be a good choice if you do not want to add any additional flavours to your pho.

Ultimately, whether or not to use sesame oil in pho is a matter of personal preference. While it is not a traditional ingredient, it can add a unique flavour and health benefits to this delicious dish.

How to Make Pho Without Sesame Oil

How to Make Pho Without Sesame Oil
How to Make Pho Without Sesame Oil

When making pho, sesame oil is often used to add a nutty flavour to the dish. However, if you are allergic to sesame or simply don’t like the taste, you can still make delicious pho without it. Here’s how:


  • Beef bones (or chicken bones for chicken pho)
  • Onion
  • Ginger
  • Star anise
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Cardamom
  • Fish sauce
  • Sugar
  • Rice noodles
  • Bean sprouts
  • Basil leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Sriracha sauce


  1. Roast the bones in the oven until browned. This will give the broth a richer flavour.
  2. In a large pot, add the bones, onion, and ginger. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. This will ensure a clear broth.
  4. Add the star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom. These spices are commonly used in pho and will give the broth a fragrant aroma.
  5. Simmer the broth for at least 6 hours. The longer you simmer, the richer the flavour will be.
  6. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
  7. Add fish sauce and sugar to taste. These seasonings will give the broth a savoury and slightly sweet taste.
  8. Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions.
  9. Serve the noodles in bowls and pour the hot broth over them.
  10. Top with bean sprouts, basil leaves, and lime wedges. These ingredients will add freshness and crunch to the dish.
  11. Add sriracha sauce to taste. This will give the pho a spicy kick.

By following these steps, you can make delicious pho without sesame oil. Enjoy!


So, does pho have sesame oil? In conclusion, after thorough research and analysis, I have found that not all pho dishes contain sesame oil. While some recipes may include it as a key ingredient, others do not. It ultimately depends on the restaurant or home cook preparing the dish.

It is important to note that those with sesame allergies should always ask about the ingredients in pho before consuming it. Many restaurants are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions and can provide alternative options.

Overall, pho is a delicious and popular Vietnamese dish that can be enjoyed by many. Whether it contains sesame oil or not, it is a flavourful and satisfying meal that is worth trying.

About Mai Tran

As Mai Tran, the author of the Bunker Vietnamese website specializing in Vietnamese food, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all my readers. Growing up in a Vietnamese household, I have always had a deep appreciation for the rich and diverse flavors of Vietnamese cuisine. Through my website, I aim to share my passion for cooking and my cultural heritage with the world. From traditional recipes passed down through generations to modern twists on classic dishes, my website is a celebration of the vibrant and delicious world of Vietnamese food. Join me on this culinary journey and discover the beauty and complexity of Vietnamese cuisine.

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