How to make Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Vietnamese chicken noodle soup or pho ga is the equally delicious cousin of the classic Beef Pho which everyone associates with that country. It is basically a pick-me-up nutritious meal and the lighter cousin of a beef pho.

The Pho may seem to all appearances like any other meat soup but its a highly complex brew with many spicy infused flavours. The chicken pho is easier to prepare then the beef one but it still packs a hefty flavour punch. A small fresh chicken or chicken thighs rather than breasts are best here because dark meat adds its own special flavour and the skin contributes a great deal of the fat  to the stock. Consume at any time of the day and yes, it can be savoured for breakfast.

Serves: 4, Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour. Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes.



  • 2.5 litres /2 quarts/10 cups chicken stock or between 4 and 5 chicken stock cubes dissolved in the same amount of water
  • 1.5 kg /3 lb. chicken thighs, bone with skin on, or a small fresh chicken or half a large one.
  • 4 -5 spring onions, shredded and cut into lengths
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2.5cm/1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt

 The Noodles

  • 300g-400g/10 oz-12 oz dried rice vermicelli or stick noodles
  • 200g/4 cups/7 oz bean sprouts with the seed coats and tails removed. These are blanched before cooking.
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 small bunch coriander/cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bunch mint and/or basil leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into quarters
  • 5 star anise pods (optional)
  • 2 or 3 long, thin chillis, deseed and slice, for placing in a dipping bowl with light soy sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt (Cooking/kosher salt, or 1/2 tsp table salt)
  • ground white pepper to taste 


  1. In a stock pot or large saucepan, boil on high heat all the broth ingredients including the chicken but not the fish sauce, very briefly and then reduce the heat to a low level and simmer for between 40 and 50 minutes. Remove any fat and foam with a ladle or kitchen tissue.
  2. After simmering, add the fish sauce and allow to cool.
  3. Remove the chicken which will be used later for shredding into the broth.
  4. Sieve out the solids and discard.
  5. The clear broth is kept warm on a very low heat.
  6. In a separate pot, bring water to boil on a medium-high heat. Add the noodles and soften.
  7. Shred the chicken when it is cool enough. It can be along the grain but also as chunks depending on how effective the cooking has been.
  8. Into serving bowls, add the noodles along with the shredded chicken, bean sprouts and pieces of onion.
  9. Pour hot broth into each bowl.
  10. Garnish with coriander and chilli slices, basil leaves and serve with the lime.
  11. Eat it hot.
  12. A separate small bowl of chilli and soy sauce can also be served.
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