Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
May 16, 2008 02:36 PM

PHO noodles-ordering the right one? [moved from L.A. board]

I love various PHO soups just I'm having a hard time ordering the noodle I like.

I used to just say the thin rice noodle but thats not right, when I say that the noodle is way to thin.

Can someone tell me how to order in english the noodle similar to the noodle in the thai dish Pad Thai?

I know if you say the flat noodle or fat noodle you'll end up with whats used in Chow Fun or Pad See Ew.

The only other noodle I know of is a glass noodle then you can get into egg noodles.

Again, help help on ordering the thin rice noodle similar to Pad Thai for my Pho soup.

Big thanks,


P.S.-Here's a photo of the noodle I like

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi Hypnotic23,

    Vietnamese restaurants usually do not offer customized rice noodles for your pho. In general, a restaurant will offer one type of noodles and it may be thin or it may be fat. There are some that do have fresh noodles as an option. I highly favor the fresh noodles over the dried kind. If you have not had this before, think of it as freshly made pasta. If you are interested, I'd recommend going to Pho Quang Trung at 10072 Westminster Ave in Garden Grove. The fresh noodles here also happen to be the fatter kind that you like. It is my favorite pho place. Remember to ask for the fresh noodles specifically. Best of luck.

    1. Try asking for Hu Tieu noodles. If they have it, I don't think it would be a problem to substitute. But not all Pho restaurants will have them.

      3 Replies
      1. re: raytamsgv

        Hu Tieu noodles refer to the thick clear silver noodles. They are not traditionally eaten with pho but if you like them, of course, you can do whatever you want. :)

        1. re: tdo

          Everytime I go to Pho 999 they give me the option of what type of noodle I'm after. I do usually get the same soup all the type with shrimp, crab, and pork. Still, if anyone knows the type of noodle I'm trying to order I would greatly appreciate this? :>)



          1. re: Hypnotic23

            Important Sub-Question:
            Why are Pho restaurants named 999 or 888 or 777?

      2. I think the dish pho gets its name from the banh pho (pho noodles) in it. Stir fry dishes with the same noodles, like pho xao, pho ap chao, etc. are all made w/ banh pho. Pho can be slimmer or fatter, broader or narrower even giant sized (not for soups, for certain stir fries) depending on what brand the restaurant uses or if they are being provided with fresh banh pho from a local source. but if you ask for bun (the thin rice noodle), mi (egg noodle), mien (glass noodle) or some other noodle, it ceases to technically be pho, though I suppose you could have it anyway you like it if you aren't a stickler for authenticity or whatever.

        The noodles in your pic appear to be banh pho. maybe you like a certain width or thickness of banh pho and your place changed brands or you just went to a place using a different brand. I cannot imagine that a restaurant would keep multiple varieties of banh pho of offer, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: luckyfatima

          Actually "pho" is very much a twentieth century french-viet fusion dish and so the word "pho" may (this is a matter of debate) come from the French "pot a feu" since there are clear French influences on the dish, including the use of browned onions in the broth as well more fundamentally as the use of beef, which was not widely consumed in Vietnam before the French arrived.

        2. luckyfatima is correct. Nowadays pho is offered with the thin type of noodles only, unless they have other dishes that use wider banh pho. Banh pho is the noodle used in pho dish. There are several sizes of banh pho available, ranging from a small width (1/16") to wider widths (1/8", 1/4" or sometimes even 3/8"). This is similar to spaghetti versus angel hair in Italian dishes. What differentiates banh pho from other noodle varieties is banh pho has square or rectangular cross-sections (depending on width size), as opposed to mostly round cross-sections most other noodles come in. Read more on Banh pho at

          4 Replies
          1. re: chuynh

            hi chuynh-can you tell me about the hu tieu noodle and how it is different from banh pho. I noticed a lot of places have some type of hu tieu xao but the noodle is just banh pho.

            1. re: luckyfatima

              @luckyfatima Excellent question. The following will help anyone decide what he/she is ordering/eating:
              1. There are hu tieu the noodles (bánh hủ tiếu,) and then there are hu tieu the dishes,
              2. Hu tieu dishes may be cooked in dry (fried) or wet (soup) style.


              - Hu tieu dishes can use different noodles. You can have banh hu tieu noodles, banh pho noodles, or thin Chinese egg noodles (called mì in Vietnamese,) and the dish you order is still called hu tieu.

              More on hu tieu noodles versus pho noodles:

              For the OP, I think what he wanted was the wide banh pho that Vietnamese restaurants use in their pho ap chao dish (pan-fried noodle.) Personally I think this wide banh pho will overwhelm the rest of the pho bowl, will fill you up fast, plus you won't be able to slurp :)

                1. re: luckyfatima

                  You're welcome. Enjoy your hu tieu!

          2. Banh Pho can also be found in your local asian supermarket. Most restaurants use Sincere Orient Fresh Banh Pho.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jjason

              Really there's no reason to buy dry banh pho any more. Even the fresh Sincere Orient banh pho like Jjason mentioned can be frozen for long-term storage.