It seems as if every culture has its own big bowl of noodle soup, and in Vietnam it’s called pho. While Japanese ramen may be getting all the attention these days, pho is also delicious, complex, and deeply comforting, which is why we tracked down the 10 best pho shops in America.
Traditional pho (pronounced “fuh”) starts with a slow-simmered clear beef broth that’s been flavored with roasted onion and spices including cinnamon, coriander, star anise, and clove. Linguine-style rice noodles (called bún) and thinly-sliced raw beef are added, and a wide variety of garnishes including cilantro, Thai basil, bean sprouts, lime, Thai chiles, and fish sauce complete the dish. Chicken pho is also fairly common, as are add-ins like pork meatballs, tripe, and tendon.
Pho originated in North Vietnam in the early years of the twentieth century, and in the years following the Vietnam War the dish was brought around the world by refugees. This diaspora resulted in Little Saigons taking root in places like California’s Bay Area and Orange County, as well as in Houston, where the Vietnamese population is still thriving, and plenty of great pho can be found.
In order to rank the best pho shops in America, we started by gathering together all pre-existing rankings in both print and online, and combed through online review sites for the restaurants that rose to the top. We then sorted those by level of local and national renown, freshness and quality of ingredients, variety of pho on offer, and the overall dining experience. In the end, these 10 restaurants rose to the top.
If you’ve never sat down to a big bowl of pho, we strongly suggest you track one down as soon as possible. Nothing beats a big bowl of noodle soup, and pho just might be the world’s best.