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Calories in a bowl of PHO in this area [moved from DC/Baltimoreboard]

I am posting this in the DC area board because I have seen sizes vary in other regions. How many calories do you think are in a regular bowl of pho in this area? I keep readin around 200 on the internet but that just does not sound right at all.

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  1. 1750 calories for the large bowl with beef flank/tripe/tendon. This is excluding all the
    extra stuff that you throw into the soup, such as the sauces and bean sprouts.

    10 Replies
    1. re: OaktonWhitney

      WHOA! I have never had pho (a problem I had thought I needed to remedy but now....), and I always understood it was a thin-brothed soup. What the h-e double hockey sticks is in it that makes it so high in calories?!?

      1. re: charmedgirl

        It has to be all the noodles. There may not be a lot of fat in Pho, but there are definitely a lot of calories!

        1. re: jrl2929

          I have ordered pho without the noodles to avoid the carbs. Pho is all about thr broth and meat for me.

            1. re: bylinemjf

              A cup of rice noodles has just under 200 calories. So, say you even have two cups of noodles, there's just not that many calories in beef broth, and I guess the calories in beef vary by cut. I would guess that it would be closer to 750 than 1750.

              1. re: baltoellen

                I think that's a good estimate for a regular bowl of pho. Perhaps Oakton said 1750 because some of those big bowls are like two regular bowls of pho -- and if you add in lots of fatty pieces of meat and very oily broth, it may be close to his estimate.

        2. re: charmedgirl

          Charmedgirl, you should understand that a large bowl of Pho is something eating competitions are made of. Where I come from (Denver) a large has like 5-6 cups of broth, close to a pound of noodles, more than a pound of meat, plus all the fixins. I am 150lbs and run 4 miles a day, so I can really put in the food, but is VERY rare that I am able to even get near finishing a Med bowl. A small is probably just over 500 calories. Since it is a complete meal, that is not tipping the scales. Also, I get my noodle on the side, it is all about the meat and broth for me, just a little noodles cuz they are fun to slurp!

          1. re: Jezebhell

            That must be a special Denver version! A bowl of pho (of any size) with "more than a pound of meat" doesn't sound traditional at all. Like many Asian dishs, the meat in a traditional bowl of pho is almost more of a garnish.

            1. re: Jezebhell

              Dang, wish they made 'em like that here in NYC. Generally it's 2-3 cups of broth, 5-6 slices of very thin eye round steak (very lean), a good handful of thin rice noodles (maybe 1/4-1/2lb before cooking). The rest is onion, sprouts, cilantro (0 pts/0 cals). I can't imagine it being 1750cals. Maybe if you have a lb of tripe or tendon (fattier cuts). Flank is also very lean. I've heard 2.25pts per cup but honestly I think that is a low estimate. Heck, for pho, I just go for it! Can't count calories for everything and it's definitely lower cal than a cheesburger and fries!!

          2. re: OaktonWhitney

            I don't think that's right. Any support?

          3. Methinks 1750 is a wee bit high, judging what I know about the caloric value of a typical bowl of pho. Most articles cite between 600-700 calories, very little of that from fat, which is a more realistic number. What is high is the typical sodiom level of restaurant pho.


            7 Replies
            1. re: Ellen

              Is there really regional variation in the size and calorie content of a bowl of pho? Is a bowl of pho in DC that much different than one in San Francisco?

              1. re: JonParker

                I think 1750 is way high, wow!

                1. re: JonParker

                  I didn't say there was and can't imagine there would be. Philly and DC area phos are pretty comparable.

                  1. re: Ellen

                    Sorry, I meant to respond to the original poster.

                    1. re: JonParker

                      Jon, I have had pho bowls much smaller than what we are served in this area so yes- reason why I prefaced my question.

                      1750 sounds really high to me. I would have thought no more than 700. Oakton, where are you getting the stats from- we all may be completely wrong.

                      1. re: xena1441

                        Yes, I would have guessed 500-700 calories. Most of is broth, veggies and noodles, and it's not 'that' heavy on the noodles. As for regional size variations...I'm pretty sure that size varies between restaurants in this region. While most serve two sizes, the large being fairly large, the sizes certainly aren't standard around here any more then they are between here and across the country.

                2. re: Ellen

                  I agree... even thinking of French style soups.... the greatest masters of sneaking in Calories into food..... there is no way you could get a 1750 Calorie Soup.... I mean an 800 Calorie Soup will make you feel extremely full & sick...

                3. Beef Pho is about 9 WW points, if that helps...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: debit

                    In my old WW book, it says a bowl of pho is 2 pts! I always knew that was wrong, I think the writer of the "ethnic" foods section thought pho comes in a measuring cup or something.

                    1. re: luckyfatima

                      Most of the bowls I've gotten have been "2 pts" as in TWO PINTS! A good solid quart of broth, noodles, assorted cow parts and hot and cold running vegetables. Two POINTS would be maybe a half-pint of broth and three noodles, with maybe a slice each of lean beef and brisket. Lots of luck finding that...

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        Yep the whole "ethnic food" section in WW is pretty dubious because a lot of stuff isn't taken into account...I have strong thoughts on the Indian food section, but anywayz...I ask for pho dac biet and tell the wait person no fatty brisket, only lean. So I get the tendons (0 pts I think), bo tai, tripe ( 0 pts I think) and the other lean meats. Then I only eat half the noodles (I guess I eat 2 pts of noodles). I only eat at places with fabulous broth so I never add hoisin sauce (lots of sugar). I also don't finish all of the broth. Maybe half. I guesstimate my total as 8 points, most points for the meat. Do you think I am fooling my self? I eat A LOT of pho. At least a couple times per week these days.

                    2. re: debit

                      assuming a WW point is around 50 cals that would be 450 calories.

                    3. I believe that DC-area pho has around 12-14% fewer calories than Philadelphia pho, but 8 or 9% more than Californian pho.

                      1. I would say the estimate of 1750 is about right for the Pho with all the different beef pieces in it. Recently I put a whole container of Pho with fatty beef in it minus the noodles in the fridge and I got well over 3 table spoons of hardened fat off the top. That’s not including the fatty pieces that were left. Now plain Pho with lean beef is much leaner

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Trazom

                          What a great idea! I think I am going to get it to go and try that myself. I am just THAT curious. But really? 1750 still sounds extremely high.

                          Also to clear up- I am asking about jst Pho Tai (no tripe etc and lean meat)

                          1. re: xena1441

                            Yea I was shocked at the amount of fat. I Think Ill stick to the regular Pho with just lean beef. The one I was referencing had round eye steak? Which was really fatty .

                          2. re: Trazom

                            The stuff at the top of the container was not fat but gelatin. Pho broth is made from beef bones and tough cuts of beef, both of which contain large amounts of the collagen. When low heat is applied, the collagen converts in to gelatin. Gelatin is responsible for much of the flavor and mouth feel of the broth.

                            1. re: Atticus Fresh

                              Gelatin does not separate out of liquid as it cools, it binds with water. A stock high in collagen/gelatin will thicken or solidify uniformly as it cools - ever made Jell-o?. A hard layer on top definitely sounds like animal fat.

                          3. 1750? wowie. better save the pho for special occasions!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: beelzebozo

                              Wish I could. I eat it just about every week (lean beef though). And honestly if it was 1750 I think I would've packed on some pounds from it by now. I have always assumed it was around 800 cals and planned the rest of my day around that.

                              1. re: beelzebozo

                                People, you should understand that a large bowl of Pho is something eating competitions are made of. Where I come from (Denver) a large has like 5-6 cups of broth, close to a pound of noodles, more than a pound of meat, plus all the fixins. I am 150lbs and run 4 miles a day, so I can really put in the food, but is VERY rare that I am able to even get near finishing a Med bowl. A small is probably just over 500 calories. Since it is a complete meal, that is not tipping the scales. Also, I get my noodle on the side, it is all about the meat and broth for me, just a little noodles cuz they are fun to slurp!

                              2. I always get chicken pho (ok, not authentic pho i guess!) and I skim the oil off the top of the broth...This seems very healthy to me!

                                1. According to Calorie King, in a 1 1/2 cup serving there's 449 calories.



                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Davwud

                                    Fitday has it at 174 in one cup. F#*(%& frustrating.

                                    1. re: link_930

                                      It's that extra half cup that does you in. Just learn to leave that much in the bowl.

                                      1. re: JonParker

                                        The extra half cup would be 174 * 1.5 = 261 (using the Fitday estimate), still very shy of 449.

                                    2. re: Davwud

                                      That's more accurate. A small bowl of Pho (which is still a lot) is about 3 cups so 449 calories x 2 = 898 calories. 1,750 is not accurate at all. The best answer is approximately 900 calories depending on what other sauces and veggies added to it.

                                    3. Just for info. A 3oz block of dry noodles (need them for late work emergency snack) runs about 400 calories. Could be that the equivelent of 3 of those blocks plus the additional stuff is around 1750. Just seems like a LOT of noodles.

                                      1. You know, I don't think relying on any sources you see online will be of any use as there's so much variability between types of pho and sizes of pho. I think the best way to find out how many calories there are is to find a pho recipe that closely approximates what you eat at a restaurant, use some calorie software and arrive at a number.

                                        1. Just found this in USA Today

                                          "Healthy option: Large bowl of Pho. Calories, 655; fat, 11; sodium, 1840"

                                          I would think this refers to the lean kind though (excluding tripe, etc).

                                          1700 is still way too much.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: xena1441

                                            With that much sodium, I don't see how this is a healthy option.

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              I agree with your opinion completely- in fact I try not to eat anythin salty on days I have pho (I was discussing with someone earlier today that weight takes a few days to get back to normal due to the water retention), but the article was about places that are not "as bad" for you when you eat out (i.e. compared to Mexican). So I guess the calorie count ain't too bad. And you get a ton of veggies in.

                                              1. re: xena1441

                                                Oh, totally, and I love pho (or at least, the inauthentic vegetarian version I order) when I don't want to fall into a food coma. Just sayin' - not for people with high blood pressure. :)

                                                1. re: xena1441

                                                  Why is Mexican bad for you? If the gringos tontos stopped choosing all the Tex-Mex crap... and instead chose the authentic stuff... the country would be a lot healthier.

                                                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                                                    Eat_Nopal, I am clearly not referring to the "authentic stuff" by my comment. That is a whole other discussion obviously.

                                            2. Why have several commenters mentioned tripe? I can understand the "fatty brisket" upping the calories, but I didn't realize tripe was fattening. Is it? What about tendons?

                                              1. 1750 calories is way to high for Pho. It is actually about 135 calories per cup, so I guess the total caloric count will just depend on how big your bowl is. What is a killer in Pho, and what most people neglect to note, is that it is extremely high in sodium (salt). 1 cup of Pho contains about 1,150 mg of sodium, and when you consider that our daily intake should be no more than about 1,300 mg of sodium, eating copious amounts of Pho will probably kill you a lot sooner than high calories :-). However, if you're on a diet, trying to lose weight, or on an exercise/weight-loss program, eating a bowl of Pho once a week will at least add some variety to your diet, without packing on the calories.

                                                1. I was looking for the answer myself. Weight Watchers actually encourages you to eat pho and many other vietnamiese dishes because they are veggie packed. refernece
                                                  two great comments: skim the oil/fat out (not refering to gelatin) and order without or half as much noodles thats where so much of the cals are. The stuff i had was loaded with noodles and the small, wasnt so small. really i just like the veggies and broth most anyway. Im gonna try to make it at home, i know whats in it and go for less sodium.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: anmzbd

                                                    What about the vegetarians who eat the pho without the meat? Does that take off a substantial amount of calories?

                                                    1. re: valtallica

                                                      Since Pho is by definition made with beef broth, vegetarians would order a vegetarian version with a veggie broth. Becomes a difficult comparison.

                                                      Now that I make my own Pho broth, I can say exactly what it is in it, and I can assure you the the sodium content isn't anywhere near as high as the numbers I am seeing in this thread. I prefer a Pho that isn't full of too many noodles. I am all about the broth, basil and lime. So my husband gets extra noodles which makes him happy.

                                                  2. The Toronto Star has a column that does analysis on foods; recently they looked at a bowl of beef pho and concluded "This soup contains 644 calories, 8 grams of fat and 3,100 mg of sodium."


                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Spelunk

                                                      Thanks Spelunk. That sounds about right. The sodium is out if this world but i guess i'm not too surprised. Just drink lots of water that day!

                                                      1. re: xena1441

                                                        I found a recipe for pho that calls for 600 calories. The recipe is a very tedious process and the end result is authentic. I am on the HCG diet; therefore, I am unable to eat carbs. I found a Vietnamese restaurant that offers pho with the "Miracle Noodles" (no cal/fat/carb/sugars). That would cut the calories significantly. Tonight, I had leftover broth from my lunch yesterday. I have miracle noodles and just added the broth - no beef. I assume I consumed less than 100 calories (if that) for 3 cups of broth. The sodium is high because of the fish sauce that is included in the recipe.