Ramen vs Pho

Most likely, if you enjoy Asian food, you’ve tasted both ramen and pho. It can be challenging to choose between these two noodle recipes, which are frequently contrasted with one another. Both dishes are great, yet they differ in clear ways that make them different.

Pho Bo - Vietnamese fresh rice noodle soup with beef, herbs and chili

The main ingredients of ramen, a traditional Japanese noodle soup, are wheat noodles, beef broth, and a variety of garnishes, including sliced pork, seaweed, and green onions.

The Vietnamese cuisine pho, on the other hand, consists of rice noodles, beef broth, with garnishes like bean sprouts, basil, and lime.

Despite the fact that both recipes are noodle soups, they are distinctive due to their diverse flavor combinations and components.

The broth is one of the main distinctions between ramen and pho. Pho soup is often lighter and more delicate whereas ramen broth is typically heavier and thicker.

In addition, ramen’s noodles are tougher and chewier than pho’s delicate, transparent rice noodles.

Additionally, whereas pho is generally cooked with beef, ramen frequently includes meats like pork or chicken.

Ramen and pho are distinct dishes that provide various gastronomic experiences due to the variances in ingredients and flavors.

Origins and History

Ramen History

Chinese food is the source of the Japanese dish ramen. Chinese immigrants brought it to Japan for the first time in the late 19th century.

Bowl of mouth watering japanese ramen for single serving.

The meal was created with wheat noodles in a clear broth and was initially known as “shina soba,” which translates to “Chinese soba.”

A variety of toppings, including pork, poultry, fish, veggies, and eggs, as well as various broths and noodles have been added to the meal over time.

Due to its affordability and accessibility during World War II, ramen became a staple diet for many Japanese citizens.

Ramen shops eventually opened after street vendors started serving ramen from carts.

Ramen is a meal that is now enjoyed both in Japan and throughout the world, and there are numerous regional variations and styles.

Pho History

Vietnamese cuisine known as pho was created in the early 20th century under French colonial control.

Pho Bo - Vietnamese fresh rice noodle soup

The meal is thought to have been made by fusing Chinese beef broth with Vietnamese rice noodles.

The word “pho” is an anglicization of the French phrase “pot-au-feu,” which translates as “pot on the fire.”

Originally, street vendors would sell pho while toting a small stove and a pot of soup.

The dish gained popularity in Hanoi and other northern Vietnamese cities before eventually becoming widespread in Vietnam.

Pho was introduced to other countries after the Vietnam War by a large number of Vietnamese refugees, where it quickly gained popularity as a meal at Vietnamese eateries.

Today, pho is a popular dish all over the world and a staple in Vietnam. It is frequently prepared with rice noodles, beef or chicken broth, and a variety of herbs and spices.

Beef, chicken, pig, shellfish, and veggies are all acceptable toppings.

In conclusion, the origins of ramen and pho are found in several nations and cultures.

While Pho originated in Vietnam and was influenced by French and Chinese cuisines, Ramen originated in Japan and was influenced by Chinese food.

Both meals have changed over time and are now relished by people everywhere.

Ingredients and Preparation


Ramen frequently includes wheat noodles, a broth made of meat (usually pig), and a variety of garnishes, including sliced pork, green onions, and boiled eggs.

Ramen with pork meat close up shot on a dark background

Pork bones are typically simmered for many hours to create a rich, flavorful base for the broth.

Salt, miso, and soy sauce are frequently used to enhance the flavor of the broth.

Compared to pho, the noodles used in ramen are often thicker and chewier.

In order to guarantee the ideal texture, they are frequently cooked separately from the broth.


While rice noodles and a beef-based broth are used to make pho.

Traditional Vietnamese beef soup pho on a wooden background

Typically, the broth is created by cooking cattle bones, oxtail, and a variety of spices, including cinnamon, ginger, and star anise, for a long period of time.

The resulting soup has a mildly sweet and savory flavor and is fragrant and light.

Sliced beef, bean sprouts, and fresh herbs like basil and cilantro are frequently added to pho as toppings.

In order to give the food more flavor, frequent condiments include Sriracha and hoisin sauce.

Compared to ramen, the noodles used in pho are often thinner and more delicate. In order to absorb the flavor of the broth, they are frequently cooked directly in it.

Overall, pho and ramen are both intricate recipes that take many hours to prepare the ideal broth.

Depending on the location and the chef’s particular preferences, the choice of ingredients and toppings can change, but both dishes are sure to please.

Nutritional Differences

There are a few key distinctions to bear in mind when contrasting the nutritional benefits of ramen versus pho. What you need to know is this:

Asian noodle soup, ramen with chicken, tofu


Ramen often has more calories per serving than pho does. This is so because ramen often has higher fat and carbohydrate content than pho.

For instance, whereas a bowl of beef pho normally has between 350 and 450 calories, a bowl of tonkotsu ramen can have up to 1100 calories.


Depending on the ingredients used, ramen and pho can both be excellent sources of protein.

Because it frequently contains meat, like pork or chicken, ramen typically has a higher protein content than pho. If php contains beef or chicken, it can still be a rich source of protein.


Both ramen and pho can contain a lot of sodium, although ramen typically does. This is because soy sauce or miso paste, both of which are high in sodium, are frequently used to make ramen soup.

However, unlike soy sauce or miso paste, cattle bones used to make pho soup have a lower salt content.

Other Nutrients

Both ramen and pho have the potential to be excellent sources of additional vitamins and minerals.

For instance, veggies like bok choy or bean sprouts, which are rich in vitamin C and potassium, are frequently used in ramen dishes.

While basil and cilantro are abundant in antioxidants and other healthy ingredients, they are also used in pho.

Overall, if consumed in moderation, both ramen and pho can be a component of a balanced diet.

However, pho can be a better option if you’re seeking a reduced calorie and sodium option.

Frequently Asked Questions

eating colorful Vietnamese pho bo with selective focus on chopsticks

What is the origin of ramen and pho?

Ramen is a Japanese dish that originated in China. It consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso. Pho, on the other hand, is a Vietnamese dish that was influenced by French and Chinese cuisine. It typically consists of rice noodles served in a beef or chicken broth, flavored with herbs and spices like cinnamon, star anise, and coriander.

What are the differences between the noodles in ramen and pho?

The noodles in ramen are made from wheat flour and are typically thicker and chewier than the rice noodles used in pho. Ramen noodles are also often served with a slightly alkaline broth, which gives them a characteristic yellow color. Pho noodles, on the other hand, are made from rice flour and have a light, slippery texture.

What are the differences between the broths in ramen and pho?

The broths in ramen and pho differ in flavor and ingredients. Ramen broth is often made with pork bones, chicken bones, or seafood, and is flavored with soy sauce, miso, or salt. Pho broth, on the other hand, is typically made with beef bones and is flavored with herbs and spices like star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. The broth is usually served with fresh herbs and vegetables like bean sprouts, basil, and lime.

What are some common toppings for ramen and pho?

Ramen and pho are often served with a variety of toppings, including sliced pork, beef, or chicken, boiled eggs, seaweed, and green onions. Ramen may also be served with corn, bamboo shoots, and butter, while pho is often served with fresh herbs like basil, cilantro, and mint, as well as bean sprouts and lime wedges.

Which is healthier: ramen or pho?

Both ramen and pho can be part of a healthy diet, but it depends on the ingredients and preparation methods used. Ramen can be high in sodium and calories if the broth is made with fatty meats and the noodles are fried. Pho, on the other hand, is often lower in calories and fat, but can be high in sodium if too much fish sauce or soy sauce is used. To make these dishes healthier, look for broths made with lean meats and vegetables, and choose noodles made from whole grains or vegetables.

Asian noodle soup, ramen with chicken, tofu, vegetables and egg


In conclusion, ramen and pho are both delectable noodle soups with unique flavors.

Pho is a Vietnamese cuisine prepared with rice noodles and a lighter broth in contrast to ramen, a Japanese dish made with wheat noodles and a thick broth.

Ramen frequently has meat, eggs, and veggies as toppings, whereas pho frequently has beef, herbs, and bean sprouts.

To suit your tastes, both recipes can be altered by adding a variety of toppings.

The nutritional value of ramen and pho is one thing to take into account.

Due to its rich broth and toppings, ramen typically has a higher caloric and salt content, whereas pho typically has a lower caloric and sodium content.

The nutritional value can, however, differ based on the particular ingredients used in each recipe, so it’s crucial to keep that in mind.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.