Stir Fry Pho (Pho Xao) Posted by: | September 23, 2010

After 1.5 weeks buzzing around settling into my home in Hanoi, I realized I am almost at the end of my 2-week break. And why do I not feel rested at all? I can’t really recall the last time I felt truly rested. This move has really been draining me out. I thought once I get myself across the Vietnam border, all the moving stress would end. Oh how wrong I was. Now all the stress of settling in is just getting started! The Vietnamese are right when they say “Vạn Sự Khởi Đầu Nan” (“all beginnings are difficult” – simple but oh so true). I know I should not say “never”, but honestly, I never want to relocate again. EVER! Now I am still stressed out about my belongings stuck at the Port, waiting to clear customs (I’ve been so busy the past few days just to settle these customs documents alone!). My KitchenAid is probably feeling very lonely in one of the boxes. Sigh… Don’t worry, Mommy will come and get you soon! And hopefully you will get be at your permanent home by this weekend :) Ok I should stop talking to my Kitchen Tools and start blogging about all the good food I’ve been enjoying in Vietnam!


So this weekend me and my Mom made many dishes together. One of it was Stir Fry Beef Noodle (Pho Xao). This is one of my favorite “Fast Food” meals at home. As long as your ingredients are fresh, it will taste terrific! But the biggest difference to the taste will be the noodle (Pho). It has to be a good Vietnamese brand (dried ones are ok), made from all natural ingredients only (stay away from those that have a lot of chemicals you can’t pronounce in the Ingredients list). So if you have some green leafy vegetables, some carrots and beef in your fridge, you should be able to have this yummy meal on your table in no time! My parents now are obsessed with eating healthy, so I was allowed to cook only 100g of beef for 3 of us. Supposedly red meat is bad for you and you should only have it twice a week. Gulp. I don’t want to remember how much beef I ate in the same day back in Singapore. Anyway so here it goes…


Stir Fry “Pho” (Pho Xao)



INGREDIENTS (serves 3-4)

  • A pack of Dried Pho noodles (probably a 500g pack)
  • 200 – 300g Beef (Flank steak parts are best for stir frying), cut into thin slices
  • 300g of green leavy cabbage like Bok Choy, Chye Sim (warning: they shrink a lot when cooked, so feel free to use as much as you want), leaves separated from the roots.
  • 2 – 3 medium sized carrots, cut into thin slices about 5 cm in length
  • 1 bunch of Chinese Celery for extra flavor, chopped into 3cm length pieces.
  • Corn Oil or any neutral oil (a few tablespoons each time you stirfry)
  • 2 limes for squeezing upon serving



1. Add about 3 tablespoons of oil a deep non-stick frying pan or a wok, stir fry the beef and vegetables the way you stir fry any other Vietnamese stirfry dish (see “Stir Fry” category on the right). Meanwhile, cook the dried Pho according to package instructions. Take it out when it is al-dente, to avoid the Pho getting soggy when you stir fry it later. See picture below for the Stir Fry dish without the Pho.



2. Using the same pan, add another 4 tablespoons of oil, and add the Pho. Using a wooden spoon or chopstick, try to divide the Pho as much as possible to breakdown the chunks of Pho that stick together. Pour in the natural gravy from the Stir Fry beef & vegetables to wet the Pho and lend it some flavor. Season with salt, fish sauce (only about 3 – 4 spritz) and pepper to taste. Keep stirring the Pho in the pan (see picture) until it dries up a little bit, and has acquired enough flavor and taste (about 15 minutes). Add in the beef & vegetables stir fry into the pan, mix everything up and serve with bottled chili sauce and a piece of fresh lime.


7 Responses to “Stir Fry Pho (Pho Xao)”

  1. Yian says:

    I miss Viet food :( having withdrawal symptoms now… I have to stop reading your blog and take the next flight !!

  2. Alex Nguyen says:

    yummmmm so yummy, can u make me one dish too. Stir fry is also my favorite too. You make me hungry now Chi Anh. Btw it’s nice to talk to you over the web:d

  3. Alex Nguyen says:

    Dont you know that Stir Fry on the street is not clean at all. They use old, dark oil to cook for us. Normally, we need to change oil after use 2-3 times If we eat those kind of food alot it will increase chance of cance. That why if any kind person who can give me a favour, cook for me a yummy stir fry, i would prefer the most:D

  4. Phungloi says:

    I think it will be better if you use fresh pho noodles. Do you think so?

    • Chi Anh says:

      well of course fresh pho noodles taste the best, but “Stir Fry Pho” is a quick comfort dish at our home, that we usually don’t have to plan for :) It’s like how convenient it is to make pasta from dried pasta noodles instead of fresh pasta (though i’m still determined to make fresh pasta one day!)

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