Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup)

I think my immune system is broken.  I usually only get a little snuffle and headache during sick season, but I've been fighting cold after flu after stomach bug for the last few weeks.  So, it's been soup city here in my kitchen.  One really comforting soup I've been craving is pho ga, chicken pho.  Many people are familiar with pho, which is a beef noodle soup.  It's great, I love it, but sometimes I crave something a little lighter.  Pho bo (beef pho) also takes days to make a good broth, whereas I can cook some pho ga even while I'm fighting TheraFlu drug haze.  This is my sister's pho ga recipe, and it is really delicious!  As she has put it, the keys are 1)smashing the marrow 2)using fresh bouillon and 3)using good nuoc mam (fish sauce)

  • 1 yellow onion plus 1/4 more sliced for serving (can also use red onion for serving)
  • 4 inches of fresh ginger
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 2 cubes pho ga seasoning*
  • 2 tsp. of 'Better than Bouillon', or 2 cubes chicken bouillon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbs. nuoc mam (fish sauce), adjust according to taste and fish sauce brand used
  • 1 package rice noodles, banh pho*
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tbs. cilantro, chopped
  • slices of lime, fresh basil, and Thai bird chilies for serving
* available at Asian grocery stores

  1. Char onion and ginger on stove, about 1 minute per side.  Make sure you clean your stove coil before and after doing this.
  2. Add onion and ginger to large (I use an 8 qt) pot.  Fill with water.  Add whole chicken, bouillon, and pho ga seasoning.  Boil for 30 minutes.  Remove chicken and onion; skim and remove foam off top of the broth.
  3. When cool enough to handle, remove chicken meat from bones.  Slice chicken in 1" pieces and set aside.  Crush chicken bones to release marrow (I generally use a combination of smacking it with a meat mallet and a knife).  Return bones to broth and boil for 30 minutes to an hour.  Drain through fine mesh sieve.  Add fish sauce and salt and pepper.  Return to boil.
  4. When ready to serve, prepare rice noddles according to package directions.  Place noodles, chicken meat, sliced yellow onion, green onion, and cilantro in bowls.  Spoon boiling broth over noodles and serve immediately.
  5. Serve with lime, herbs, chilies, hoisin sauce and Sriracha. Enjoy!

Pho Ga seasoning

Before broth
Perfect for a cold on a cold night!


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