Phở Bò is a Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup that pairs best with crisp white wines such as Chablis, bone-dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Soave. These dry white wines have plenty of zip to handle the salty, savoury, and earthy Phở Bò flavours, offering up plenty of refreshment. Dry sparkling wine is also exceptional with Phở Bò – just stay away from anything sweet as it clashes with the savoury flavours of Phở Bò.
For red wine pairings, Pinot Noir and Beaujolais pairs up nice with Phở Bò, provided they have not seen any oak ageing. You’ll want to keep any red wine (or white wine) that has seen oak as tannin makes the Pho Bo take on a metallic taste. Heavier red wines, such as Shiraz or Merlot will also crush all the delicate and delicious flavours of Phở Bò, which is another reason why you’ll want to stay away from tannic red wines.
Pho Bo is very popular as it’s very tasty, and you often get a large bowl of delicious soup for very little money. The broth is made from beef bones, onion, ginger, cloves, fish sauce and sugar. The Pho noodles are made from rice and vary from restaurant to restaurant. Finally, beef sirloin, chopped spring onions along with bean sprouts, lime juice, cilantro, chilli flakes, and basil are tossed in to round out the flavours of the soup.
Chablis is an unoaked Chardonnay from France that is recognized for its chalky mineral flavours and vivid green apple and lemon aromas. Chablis’ minerality complements the earthy broth aromas, while green apple flavours provide a refreshing contrast to the savoury ingredients of Pho Bo.
If you choose a Chardonnay rather than a Chablis, make sure it is unoaked. The vanilla and butter flavours that oak ageing imparts to white wine do not complement the savoury flavours of Pho.
Albariño & Pho Bo Pairing
Peach, apricot, apples, melon, citrus, and flowers characterize a Spanish Albariño, which has a creamy mouthfeel akin to Chardonnay. Albariño, unlike Chardonnay, is rarely aged in oak, so there are no vanilla flavours that conflict with Phở Bo. The citrus flavours of Albariño pair beautifully with the lime juice squeezed into the Pho Bo, and the creamy texture of Albariño complements Phở Bo’s rich flavours.
Sauvignon Blanc & Pho Bo Pairing
Sauvignon Blanc is a light and refreshing white wine with notes of grass, gooseberry, grapefruit, and citrus. Sauvignon Blanc pairs well with Pho Bo because of its zippy flavours, which provide a pleasant contrast to the savoury and earthy soup. Meanwhile, the cilantro, basil, chopped spring onions, and ginger in this Vietnamese soup enhance the Sauvignon Blanc’s green and grassy aromas.
I’m a huge fan of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand as it has been consistently delicious for decades. Don’t let my opinion sway you however, be sure to sample local Sauvignon Blanc, or explore what other countries have to offer.
Riesling is another good match with Pho Bo, but make sure the wine is bone dry. Rieslings that are off-dry or sweeter will clash with the savoury flavours of Pho Bo. Wine enthusiasts rave about German Riesling, and for good reason, these wines are amazing. If you live in Ontario Canada, or the NY region, you’ll find plenty of spectacular Riesling wines locally, so don’t pass those up!
Rosé & Pho Bo Pairing
A dry Rosé should be crisp with lemon and lime flavours, as well as the fruity essence of raspberry, strawberry, and cranberry, and should not be sugary. Dry Rosé nearly pairs well with everything, so it doesn’t make for the most exciting pairing, however, it’ll most certainly be delicious.
Unfortunately, in North America, Rosé is extremely underappreciated and typically only drank by Females. Due to its pink colour, many men feel emasculated drinking Rosé – probably because they don’t want to be mocked by their pals. Or, people expect Rosé to taste extremely sweet, which in most cases, it never is. It’s quite unfortunate, as a crisp glass of Rosé makes nearly everything taste better.
Pinot Noir & Pho Bo Pairing
Pinot Noir is a delicate, fruity red wine with earthy undertones that go well with Pho Bo’s earthiness. With its subtle strawberry and cherry flavours, Pinot Noir will not overpower the delicate flavours of Phở Bò. Meanwhile, Pinot Noir’s forest floor and funky mushroom scents complement the Phở Bò soup well. Some Pinot Noir is oaked, which adds a hint of vanilla and tannin to the wine. I wouldn’t serve this oaked Pinot Noir with Phở Bò because vanilla and the savoury flavours of Pho are not a good mix.
Good Pinot Noir is not cheap (and I do not suggest you ever drink mediocre Pinot Noir), so if you are on a budget, pick up a bottle of Beaujolais-Villages. Beaujolais is a light and fruity French red wine that is low in alcohol, making it perfect with a lunchtime bowl of savoury Phở Bò. Offering up refreshing cherry, grape and berry flavours, Beaujolais offers up a refreshing contrast to the salty flavours of Phở Bò. With Beaujolais Villages, you’ll also find a kiss of rustic charm, such as potting soil or violet, that complements the earthy nature of Pho. For an even better pairing, seek out a Beaujolais Cru, such as a Chiroubles, which has an amazing mineral and herbaceous finish.
All of these wine pairings will also work with Phở Gà (Pho made with Chicken) as well has Pho made with tofu, pork (Phở Tíu), fish (Phở Cá) and vegetables.