Lao-Style Pho

10 minutes
to prep

2 hours and
25 minutes
to cook

4–6 servings

About this Recipe

A popular dish of Vietnamese cuisine, Lao people have created their own traditional version of pho. Lao pho is mainly known for its addition of sugar and the generous amount of toppings and condiments such as lime juice, chili peppers in oil, fried garlic, and fresh herbs.

Recipe by: Sharon Daraphonhdeth
Photos by: Kylie Hope


Lao-Style Pho

For Broth:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5–6 star anise
  • ½ teaspoon dried cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1–2 shallots, halved
  • 2–3 garlic cloves
  • 2–3 tablespoons vegetable bouillon seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Water

For Soup: 

  • Rice noodles

Toppings (optional—recommended to pick and choose what you prefer; the more the merrier):

  • Fried garlic
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Mint leaves
  • Basil leaves
  • Bean sprouts
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Chili in oil
  • Lime juice
  • Fried tofu

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Dry roast the cinnamon stick, star anise, dried cloves, coriander seeds, onion, shallots, and garlic on low heat for 10–15 minutes in a medium-sized pot, mixing frequently. Try not to let anything burn.
  2. Fill up the pot with water, leaving a few inches at the top. Once the water boils, add the vegetable seasoning mix and stir. Bring down to a simmer and let simmer for at least 2 hours (the longer the better). Broth will reduce heavily, but add more water when it does.
  3. While the broth is simmering, prepare the toppings for your soup.
  4. After the broth has simmered for at least 2 hours, add the soy sauce and sugar. Let boil for another 15–20 minutes. Add more soy sauce and water if needed. Once done, cover and let sit while you prepare the noodles.
  5. Cook rice noodles per instructions and drain.
  6. Add rice noodles to a large bowl and pour pho broth over the noodles. Add your toppings and enjoy!