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Jun 22, 2012 06:59 PM

Why doesn't pho congeal?

There's a number of pho places around me and occasionally I or a roommate will take home their extra unfinished soup. Now my impression of Pho is that the broth is so awesome from boiling tons of bones, which means it should have a ton of collagen. However, everywhere pho place we've saved soup from in the fridge hasn't congealed like my homemade bone broth does. Is restaurant pho generally just more diluted? Or are they not even using bones and just some powdered flavoring? They are all quite well rated places so I was surprised.

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  1. I have made pho broth and you gently simmer the broth for several hours and frequently skim off the "muck" that rises to the surface. I wonder if that is why the broth does not congeal.

    1. Like DeLobstah, I have made Pho broth a few times. During way, we skim off "muck" or "coagulate" proteins. In my memory, the Pho stock is just not that concentrated, so a bone here and there is not going to gel up. Hmm, maybe I should make Pho this weekend again just to remind myself.

      1. That's strange because pho broth does congeal for me, whether it be a slightly murkier broth or a clearer broth.

        2 Replies
        1. re: luckyfatima

          It does for me too but I use a fair amount of bones

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Also, I mean all pho broth I have ever seen chilled has congealed whether homemade (by friend, not me) or when I order take-away pho from various places.

        2. It does congeal.

          You've probably been eating at bad Phở joints.

          1. I've only been to one pho place where their broth does congeal. Their soups in general have a very homemade taste and are excellent. The reason why the vast majority of commercial pho restaurants don't have pho that congeal is that they use very little beef bones and mostly meat (chicken and/or beef) and special flavor enhancements (I suspect mostly MSG or perhaps some powdered element) to make the soup.

            Many people enjoy the taste of MSG, it doesn't have to be a bad thing