Everyone knows the traditional pho dish as a staple in Vietnamese cuisine, and more popularly among college students, it is the ultimate hangover reliever. While most people enjoy the abundance of beef options you can order with your pho dish, I’ve decided to take a more healthy, less traditional approach to this traditional Vietnamese breakfast. (Correct, pho is traditionally eaten for breakfast!) The results- pho ga or chicken noodle soup!

Le materials:

1 whole organic chicken from Central Market, I also bought additional breast meat since the chicken was rather small.

1 onion and 4-5 inches of ginger broiled for 15 mins before stewing.

2 sticks of cinnamon and 1 pack of pho seasonings (coriander, star anise, fennel seeds, cardamom, cloves) packed in a mesh bag or coffee filter. I love how Asian markets make it so easy to buy these seasonings!

Fish sauce, sugar, salt, black pepper, powdered chicken bouillon (all measured to taste).

Medium width rice noodles, (I didn’t take a picture, so here’s a Google Image).

Some preliminary steps: remove the breast from the chicken and chop into the bones. The more exposed bone, the more flavorful the broth.

One of the most important things you need to do before you start this meal is clean your chicken! This prevents your broth from smelling like raw chicken, which can ruin the intended aroma. Bring a stockpot full of water to a boil and boil the chicken for 5 mins. You should notice foamy scum coming to the top. Dump the water out, rinse and refill the pot.

Now, put the whole chicken, chicken breasts (I added in an additional breast), onions, ginger and spices into the pot. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer and add in some initial fish sauce, sugar, and salt.

Simmer for 1-2 hours. Remove the chicken breasts after 15-20 mins and shred it. Cover it with plastic wrap and store it in room temperature for later use). Occasionally skim the broth for scum. Add in fish sauce, salt and sugar as necessary. To speed up the stewing process, you can add chicken bouillon to enhance the flavor.

Note: Since I know how pho is supposed to taste, it is easy for me to keep adding in fish sauce, sugar and salt to taste. If I had to predict how much I put it, I would say: 1/4 cup fish sauce, 3  tablespoons of sugar, 2 table spoons of salt, 2 teaspoons of pepper and 4 tablespoons of chicken bouillon. 

Once the broth is finished, boil your pho noodles (which you have to soak for 60 mins, by the way. I always forget, but that only means that you have to boil for a longer time). Add chicken breast meat + dark meat from the whole chicken. Garnish with green onions, onions and cilantro. Pour boiling broth over.

Finally, serve with basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, limes, hoison sauce and Sriracha! (Pictured are the leftover dark meat pieces, mmm so yummy!)


Pho is not a dish you can whip up quickly for dinner, so make sure you have at least 3 hours to spare. Enjoy! Eating healthy ain’t always dreadful!