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Apr 29, 2008 11:11 AM

Pho---can it be ordered without the noodles?

Can pho be ordered and enjoyed without the noodles? Asking for carb conscious friends.

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  1. I have done it. Sometimes I order it with light noodles as well. To me, pho is about the broth and meat with the basil, lime, bean sprouts,hoisin and schiracha

    1. A place I used to order from would put the noodles separate from the broth on to go orders to keep them from getting too mushy. It was wonderful when I was sick because then I would just drink the broth and it felt so good

      1 Reply
      1. Sure you can order it without the noodles, but then it isn't really pho. Pho is all about the noodles to the Vietnamese. most don't even finish the broth. Maybe you might mention to your "carb conscious" friends that the low carb diet is a fad that is over.

        5 Replies
        1. re: JMF

          Not if you're diabetic, my friend. A growing and reputable body of research (by which I mean studies conducted at universities, medical centres, etc., not by authors trying to sell books) shows that low carb diets are very helpful in reducing blood sugar levels. In my case, I've gone from taking six pills a day to two, and my blood sugar has dropped by about 30% to near normal levels. As an added bonus, I've lost over 20 lbs.

          But to the original poster: why not have your friends do what my wife does? Since most pho is served family style, she serves herself some meat, some broth, and some sprouts with only a smattering of noodles. In our case, when we're done, there's virtually no broth left, and a pile of noodles.

          1. re: KevinB

            Most Pho joints do not serve it family style. It's about individual portions and customizing your own bowl of noodles with the various condiments. If the place you go to serves it family style, that's an exception. I've never seen it served family style in any of the numerous vietmanese restaurants I've eaten at over the years around the US and Asia.

            Many pho restaurants will serve sides of broth and meat so you can probably combine the two to get no noodles, but really it wouldn't be pho anymore. It would be, like other posters have stated, it would be like spaghetti with meatballs without the spaghetti. Really though, most Asian restaurants in the states are out to make a profit and will make any dish as customized as you want it within their ability. You shouldn't have any real issues getting it without noodles if you manage communicate your desires to your server, but don't be surprised if you get strange looks.

            1. re: KevinB

              I didn't mean diabetics, I understand that a balanced and controlled diet is necessary to stabilize it.

              But I agree with anna, pho is never served family style. You may order a large bowl, one as big as your head, but it's just for one person. It's a breakfast item in Vietnam and the carbs are meant to keep you going for awhile. The noodles are the purpose of pho.

              But that said, anyone can order what they like, and they will probably get served it.

                1. re: KevinB

                  In my experience here in Texas I have never been served Pho' family style. Interesting..

              1. It's like asking for pasta without the noodles, just the sauce. Pho is rice noodles in broth. Sure you can ask them to serve it without the noodles. It becomes a bowl of beef broth, not pho.

                10 Replies
                1. re: PeterL

                  Well, there IS quite a bit more to pho than broth and noodles.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'll repeat what I said several years ago. The main purpose of pho is for the noodles. The broth, and assorted other tidbits are dressing for the noodles. In Vietnam, most folks don't even finish the broth and look funny at us Westerners who do. It's all about the noodles. I had this explained to me many times on my visits to Vietnam.

                    1. re: JMF

                      Here's my favorite pho recipe:


                      LOTS more than noodles and broth :)

                        1. re: Rhoninja

                          Andrea Nguyen is one of my food-gods!

                        2. re: c oliver

                          I said there were other tidbits... but pho isn't loaded down with tons of meat or the sides. They are just accents for the noodles.


                        3. re: JMF

                          Just wondering if anyone had any other ideas to replace the noodles though since I am Diabetic..
                          Thank You =)

                          1. re: JMF

                            I'm curious about this statement.. When i've had pho, the noodles are generally fairly consistent across restaurants. What differentiates is the broth which can range widely in quality. Most vietnamese i know (from the time I spent in the DC area), focus much more on the broth and typically left more noodles than broth. NOt challenging, more asking and would love to hear more perspectives as for me, its always been about the broth, not hte noodles.

                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                              I suppose as I think about it, pho in vietnam is often a breakfast food, so in that case, it would make sense you'd want to eat the noodles for the starch to fill you up in the AM.

                              That said, I've definitely asked for more soup / less noodles at my favorite pho place and the chef takes great pride in knowing i'm a huge fan of his broth.

                      1. Pho for me is all about the broth and additions too! I could do without the noodles...I've tried ordering without the noodles, but this usually ends up mass confusion by the server and lengthy explanations!
                        I now usually order with half the noodles and like to add more bean sprouts instead