A Vietnamese pho restaurant is one where a traditional beef or chicken and noodle soup, known as pho, is regularly served as a main menu item. Other Vietnamese dishes may be served at a restaurant like this, but pho is usually the restaurant’s main emphasis. While many Vietnamese restaurants may serve traditional Vietnamese foods and may occasionally serve pho, a true Vietnamese pho restaurant always features one or more varieties of pho on the menu every day.
Although some of the best Vietnamese restaurants may be found in Vietnam, many neighborhoods around the world have a Vietnamese pho restaurant located nearby. Often, these are individually owned and operated restaurants that specialize in the preparation of traditional Vietnamese dishes. At such restaurants, patrons can usually expect to order steaming hot pho that is homemade daily. Not every restaurant offers the same kind of pho, however, as pho cooks hailing from different Vietnamese regions prepare recipes that vary.
Some people erroneously believe that any Vietnamese soup made with noodles qualifies as pho. This is not true, as true pho only comes in three varieties, which are beef, chicken or vegetarian. Beef and chicken are the most popular varieties, although vegetarian pho is often prepared to accommodate individuals who do not eat meat for religious or other reasons. Still, some restaurants located outside of Vietnam may advertise pho recipes containing seafood, but most pho enthusiasts do not consider these to be authentic pho recipes.
In addition to beef and chicken, a few of the other ingredients one may find in the pho served at a Vietnamese pho restaurant include onions, chili and cilantro. Bean sprouts, basil, sliced chili peppers and lime are also typically offered as garnishments to add additional flavor to the soup, as well as sauces such as fish or chili sauce. Many pho recipes are made with rice noodles, but this soup can also be made with egg noodles. In vegetarian varieties, tofu is sometimes used as a meat substitute, as well.
A Vietnamese pho restaurant may also serve other Vietnamese foods, such as spring rolls and various types of meat and seafood dishes. A Vietnamese restaurant may serve pho on special occasions or at certain times during the week or month. A true Vietnames pho restaurant, however, is usually known for its pho recipe and such is often included in the restaurant’s name and is made available to customers on a daily basis.