What Is the Difference Between Pho and Ramen?

Have you ever visited Asia or eaten out at the Asian corner in your hometown? If so, you’ve probably come across ramen and pho among the list of savoury dishes on the menu. They’re a must try after all.

If you’re as obsessed with them as I am, but a little confused between the two; don’t worry! I’ll let you know what is the difference between pho and ramen. You’ll be able to tell them apart from a mile away, and determine all the secret ingredients in your soup.

One thing to know, they are both noodle soups, however, their origins, their ingredients, and their tastes are totally different. So let’s get to that, shall we?

How Did Different Cultures Contribute to Pho and Ramen?

Digging a little in the past of pho and ramen, I realised that none of them belong solely to one country. Perhaps this is what makes them so remarkable and so popular with everyone.

Pho

Pho is first made in Vietnam and is considered the Vietnamese national dish and a popular part of their culture. However, as a reflection of the Vietnamese’s history; it’s a dish that encompasses many other cultures as well.

The Vietnamese were never big on meat until the French introduced it to their cuisine. This change is seen in the addition of meat to Pho soup.

Also at that time, the Chinese were prevalent in Vietnam. Their influence is reflected in the use of rice noodles to make us this heavenly dish.

Ramen

As a matter of fact, the history books were always undetermined about it. It’s said that the wheat noodles originated in China and were brought to Japan by immigrants. The Japanese added their very own broth, and just like that, we have our ramen!

Also, instant noodles themselves were created by a Japanese, Momofuku Ando. So, it might be why most people believe the concept of ramens is Japanese.

How Is Pho Made?

If you want to make pho at home, here is our easy recipe! First off, cook your rice noodles in some boiling water, then wash it with cold water, strain it and leave it aside.

Second, prepare your protein in the oven or on the stove till it’s well-done. You can always make pho with thin slices of chicken, or beef or pork according to your preference. Then you move on to the broth.

It’s essential to keep in mind that the broth is the essence of any pho or ramen dish. Make the broth by adding your spices to meat stock, boil it once then let it simmer for four hours.

Your spices should include:

  • Ginger
  • Cinnamon
  • Star anise
  • Cloves
  • Peppercorn
  • Fennel seed

Finally place your protein of choice, your noodles and broth all in one bowl. Don’t forget the toppings, of course! The toppings could be fresh herbs, fish sauce if you’re a fan, or some lime.

Some people prefer to use raw meat in their recipe as it is already added to boiling broth. You can always do it your way.

How is Ramen Made?

As in the pho, start with the wheat noodles for your home-made ramen. Put it in boiling water then rinse with cold water and put aside.

Ramen broth is made by boiling pork bones or chicken bones. After it’s boiled, you wash it thoroughly to remove any dark marrow. It’s then left to simmer for 14 hours for the most flavour-packed ramen you could ever taste.

After that, you strain the broth and add soy sauce, miso, salt and the prepped noodles. Pho’s broth is generally considered light in taste and colour. Ramen on the other hand, is more fulfilling with a dark cloudy soup.

You can have various types of seaweed, green onions, and some corn added to your tasty ramen dish. Or, you can have boiled eggs, pork slices, and bean sprouts. Ramen’s toppings are endless!
For both pho and ramen, getting to know which toppings are your favourite and customising your dish is certainly an exciting journey!

How Is Ramen Different from Instant Noodles?

Are you a student on a budget who is living off instant noodles? Did you come across the videos of people fixing stuff (everything!) using noodles? Whichever it is, you’re probably no stranger to instant noodles. But in which category does it fall?

Instant noodles are made of dried noodles, powdered spices, and seasoning oil. They differ greatly from ramen as ramen is actually made of fresh ingredients.

In ramen, the spices are usually added without crushing to give an intense flavour. The sauces and seasonings are oriental. Also, the time ramen takes on the stove, in contrast to the three minutes instant noodles take, makes for the delicious taste.

So, it’s impossible to compare the two, the only thing in common is both being noodle soups.

Different Types of Ramen

As a country’s traditional dish and a favourite of most, it’s only fair that people start to get creative with it, giving us a variety of ramen dishes. With most of the basics being similar, the focus is always on the sauces and spices.

Shoyu ramen

The Shoyu ramen is probably the most traditional, so if it’s your first time eating ramen; you might want to start with it. It has soy-sauce for seasoning, giving us a taste of China with every bite.

Miso Ramen

The Miso ramen is the most famous and a favourite of all! The essence here is the miso which gives a fruity and salty taste. And it gives the soup a creamy consistency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ramen A Soup Or Is It A Pasta?

Ramen is considered noodle soup. The broth is an essential part as it gives the noodles its flavour, so basically, both the noodles and the broth are equally important.

Are Pho And Ramen Easy To Cook At Home?

Most people feel intimidated by Asian food whether it’s sushi or ramens, cooking them always feels like the hardest endeavour. But rest assured, pho and ramen are a lot easier than sushi.

Their components are very simple, even if you attempt to make the rice or wheat noodles from scratch. It’s a matter of balancing the ingredients all together, we’re sure you’ll do it perfectly in no time!

Is Pho Considered A Healthy Meal?

Yes it is! The vegetables, protein source, and noodles all make for a full meal. Also some of the spices, like ginger, can be quite beneficial, acting as an anti-inflammatory. It’s also gluten free! The downsides, however, lie in the carbohydrates but taken in moderation is fine.

Wrap Up

It’s important to appreciate each dish for its authentic value, its unique recipes, and its magical taste. Pho and ramen difference starts with their origin, and extends to each ingredient and topping.

Both noodle soups make for warm, original meals so treat yourself on a cold morning for a doze of coziness. And now that you can spot the difference between them, remember to try out different toppings and different places to choose a favourite!

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Pauline is a mother of four, when she isn't cooking up new dishes for her family and friends, she likes to dine out at newly-opened restaurants (especially tapas!) and review them in her blog posts.
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