Phở, which goes by the name pho in the West, is a traditional Vietnamese dish soup. It contains a hearty amount of rice noodles, vegetables, and meat, which are submerged in a pool of flavorful broth. The size of a single serving of pho will depend on which Vietnamese restaurant you order it from.
Pho is typically served in 20-ounce portions. However, the traditional pho-style bowl will measure 7.5 × 3.25 inches and have a capacity of around 48 fluid ounces or more. So, the more pho you want to eat in one sitting, the bigger the bowl you should get.
There is a lot more we can learn about a bowl of pho other than its size. For instance, what is the nutritional value of a bowl of pho and how do you make pho even healthier? I’ll answer these questions and more in the following sections.
Pho Bowl Sizes
When it comes to the size of a pho bowl, you’re only limited by your imagination. There are actual pho competitions where the participant that can eat the most amount of pho wins. Some competitions offer multiple single-serving pho bowls, while others serve the noodle soup in comically large bowls and weigh it at the end to determine the winner.
But as far as standard pho bowls go—i.e., the typical bowl size served at traditional Vietnamese restaurants—there are plenty of sizes to choose from. I’ll list a few top-selling pho bowls on Amazon and their sizes in the following table.
Pho Bowl Size Chart
|Pho Bowl||Dimensions (D × H in inches||Volume (fluid ounces)|
|Salad Pho Soup Bowls||8 × 4||55|
|Farielyn-X||8.3 × 4||68|
|Vallenwood XL Bowl Set||9 × 3.8||52|
|TERRA HOME Ramen Bowl||9 × 3||54|
|TGLBT||8 × 3||55|
|Chef Miso Set||7.5 × 3.25||48|
|Hesen Pho Soup Bowls||8 × 3.2||60|
|NJCharms Ceramic Ramen Noodle Bowls||8 × 3.3||45|
It’s important to note that while pho bowls have a maximum volume of 48 fluid ounces and more, a single serving of pho will usually only add up to around 20 fluid ounces of broth, four ounces of meat (usually beef cuts), six ounces of rice noodles, and an assortment of vegetables amounting to around four ounces.
Pho Bowl Size Terms
If you want to dine in at a Vietnamese restaurant or fly to the Southeast Asian country, then you should probably familiarize yourself with the terms used to describe pho bowl sizes.
Nho—small or standard bowl sizes, which are enough for a child.
Lon—large, a hefty serving for hungry adults.
Dac Biet—the same as Lon in size but usually contains all cuts of beef.
Xe Lua—literally translates to train, which is the largest bowl size that many Vietnamese restaurants offer. You might be considered an overly ambitious diner if you order Pho Xe Lua.
Why Does Pho Bowl Size Matter?
When portioning soups for individual diners, it’s a good idea to pay close attention to how large or small the bowl is. After all, it will give the chef or restaurant a good idea of how much it costs to produce a single bowl of pho and how much they earn in return.
As for the consumer, the size of the pho bowl will determine how many nutrients you get. For instance, a single serving of pho, which is about 20 fluid ounces, may contain a hearty serving of bean sprouts, mint, leaf herbs, and thinly sliced meat.
In addition, because pho can be heavy in sodium depending on how it’s prepared, a single serving of the Vietnamese soup can more than fulfill your daily recommended sodium intake of 2,300 milligrams per the CDC.
Also, competitive eaters might want to get a feel for how much of the noodle soup they will consume in one sitting.
Does Pho Promote Weight Loss?
According to Healthline, pho can be a highly nutritious meal for anyone who wants to improve joint health, reduce inflammation, and even lose weight. The real hero of pho when it comes to weight loss is the bone broth, which is a go-to drink that some people use to lose weight and improve skin.
However, as I mentioned earlier, pho can be high in sodium, which will not do your blood pressure any favors. So, if you truly wish to gain the health benefits of pho without the added baggage, you should consider preparing your own bowl of pho at home, where you will have full control over what goes into your soup.
What Can I Use a Pho Bowl for?
A pho bowl is like any other kind of bowl. The only thing that sets pho bowls apart from your standard cereal bowl is the design. Pho bowls can also come with chopsticks and Chinese spoons—a sport with a short, thick handle with a hollowed groove that extends to the spoon’s bowl.
That said, you can use a pho bowl to serve ramen noodles, cereal, oatmeal, vegetable soups, miso soup, or as a container to hold side dishes like stir-fried vegetables and eggs.
One of the greatest things about pho bowls is that they are microwave-safe. That means you can prepare a batch of your favorite microwaved dishes using this piece of cookware.
You might even want to consider using a pho bowl to melt butter, chocolate, and other ingredients that will go in your dessert. However, you should contact the manufacturer to determine whether or not the pho bowl is microwave-safe, just to be absolutely certain.
What Are Pho Bowls Made of?
The type of material used to make a pho bowl will differ from brand to brand.
Some brands will use regular ceramic as you would find in standard cereal or serving bowls. Other pho bowl makers rely on dark plastic to make them durable against drops and bumps.
The most commonly used material that goes into a pho bowl is porcelain. Porcelain is a durable material that is low-maintenance, can have beautiful printings, is highly durable, is easy to clean, and resists wear and tear over the years.