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Exploring, creating, & reflecting one day at a time

I love pho. Like, loooove it. A huge part of the reason Brianne and I were so excited to visit Vietnam 2 years ago was just to get cheap, authentic pho. We resolved that we would eat it for every meal while we were there, and I think we came close to following through with this plan.
In the states, I have a couple pho staples back home that aren’t that great but remind me of high school and that’s pretty awesome. My friends and I would get pho at least once a week, probably whilst complaining about stuff teenagers complain about.In Berkeley I was disappointed by the pho scene until I started working at CCHC, a nonprofit in Oakland Chinatown. Here, my boss enlightened me. Oakland is FULL of amazing, cheap, bountiful pho. And, there are all types, from the typical beef pho most people are familiar with to chicken pho with thicker, flat rice noodles. My favorite, of course, is the very classic and never disappointing Pho Ao Sen.  This is just one of the many reasons I want to live in Oakland next year…But I digress. I’ve always wanted to make pho but it’s a time intensive process. Authentic pho is made from beef broth that’s simmered for a whole day with a baggie of fun spices. I don’t have a full day to simmer anything, nor do I really want to mess with beef bones, so I took the easy way out.A couple of months ago I had some beef broth and thought, why can’t I make a quick version of pho myself? I added some onions, cinnamon, and anise, some of the key players in that delicious pho broth, and it came out alright. A couple days later, Bon Appetit ran an article called “Faux Pho” and it almost matched my recipe exactly!So I guess my point is that now I feel validated that I’m not the only one cheating. This recipe is almost as quick as just making a packet of ramen if you have all the right ingredients. True connoisseurs might fault me for putting more of that rotisserie chicken from Costco in a beef broth, but whatever. It was delicious.

Phast Pho


  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1″ nub ginger, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 star anise
  • 1-2 c. beef broth
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • fish sauce to taste
  • protein of your choosing
  • thin rice noodles


  1. Saute the onions, ginger, and garlic in some oil at the bottom of a medium sized pot. Add cinnamon, anise, broth, sugar, and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, boil another pot of water and add the rice noodles.  Cook until tender, then drain and rinse under cold water.
  3. Add meat and warm through.
  4. Add salt & fish sauce to taste.
  5. Serve with sriracha, hoisin, raw chopped onions, bean sprouts, and thai basil.

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