Pho is widely believed to be the Vietnamese adaptation of a French soup called pot au feu, which sprang up after France colonized Vietnam in the late 19th century. The story goes that the northern Vietnamese took the leftover beef parts and bones from the French to create Pho Bac, a northern-style soup —though it should be noted there are competing and controversial alternative theories.
Fast forward to the middle of the 20th century, and Vietnam is divided into the north and south. Many northerners fled south, taking their soup with them, and evolved it into a southern-style as well. Pho then went global with the exodus of Vietnamese from their home country in the 1970s, mostly from the south, and was eventually imported into China as entrepreneurs saw the similarities between southern Chinese dishes and the Vietnamese rice noodle soup. History!
Today, pretty much all the pho in Shanghai is southern-style, which emphasizes the meat, and comes with beef balls, tendon, brisket and all of that. It’s also served with hoisin sauce, chili, and a bunch of herbs and bean sprouts (though never enough herbs in Shanghai). In the north, pho is a simple, clear soup with chicken or minced beef and a slice of lime.
Here are five places to get southern-style Vietnamese pho in Shanghai!
SmartShanghai.com is an independent media publication dedicated to honesty and editorial transparency. We are for Shanghai residents,
written by a team of long-term, opinionated and knowledgeable writers and editors. We never give an opinion or recommendation that we
wouldn’t also share with our own friends and family.