What Is The Difference Between Ramen And Pho?

Ramen and pho are two iconic noodle dishes that are rooted in different culinary traditions. While they contain noodles as a central ingredient, their flavor profiles, preparation techniques, and cultural significance are distinct. Understanding the distinctions between ramen and pho not only enhances one’s appreciation for these dishes but also provides insight into the intricate web of global cuisine. This guide, will explain what is the difference between ramen and pho.

What Exactly Is Ramen?

Wheat noodles, a savory broth, and various garnishes, including pork belly, ground pork, beef, chashu, green onion, seaweed, and corn, comprise ramen, a noodle dish with Chinese origins.

This concludes the brief list. It is predominantly distinguished by the type of broth served with the noodles, with shio, shoyu, tonkotsu, and miso being the most popular.

Typically, the garnishes and protein served with ramen are determined by the type of broth being consumed.

What Is The Pho?

Bone broth, rice noodles (called bánh ph), spices, and sliced meat are used to make ph. People in Vietnam think of it as their national dish. The broth is much lighter and thinner than, say, ramen broth, but it packs a powerful flavor punch and has a highly aromatic smell that you can smell from a mile away.

Personally, I also find this dish “fun” to consume because it is served with basil, cilantro, radishes, chilies, sprouts, and lime as garnishes. All of these ingredients may be added to the broth or served as a side dish. Additionally, every pho restaurant is always stocked with bottles of sriracha or hoisin sauce, which you should use to consume your meat.

What Is The Difference Between Ramen And Pho?

1. Origin


China is the origin of ramen, but it has become an integral element of Japanese cuisine. It was introduced to Japan in the late 19th century and has since evolved to include a variety of regional variations, each with its own distinct flavor and preparation methods.


Pho, on the other hand, is a Vietnamese dish par excellence. It emerged in northern Vietnam during the French colonial period of the early 20th century. It is believed that the appellation “pho” was influenced by the French dish “pot-au-feu.”

2. Noodles


Ramen noodles are comprised of wheat flour and can differ in thickness and shape. Frequently, their texture is firm and rubbery. In some regional variations, the noodles are narrow and straight, while in others they are thicker and wavy.


Pho noodles are flat, rice-based noodles with a delicate, slippery consistency. Rice sticks are typically broader than ramen noodles and are also known as “rice sticks.”

3. Broth

Ramen broth can be prepared with pork, chicken, seafood, or a combination of these ingredients. The resultant broths can be seasoned with miso, soy sauce, or salt and range from transparent to creamy in consistency. For instance, tonkotsu ramen has a broth made from pork bones, while shoyu ramen uses a broth made from soy sauce.


Traditional pho broth is typically clear and prepared from beef bones. It is simmered with aromatic spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to impart a distinctive aroma and flavor. There is also chicken pho (pho ga), which utilizes a broth made from poultry.

4. Flavor Profile


Ramen broths are typically thick, aromatic, and umami-rich. They are seasoned to attain a desired flavor profile, which can range from intensely meaty to subtly seafood-infused.


Pho is renowned for its delicate, well-balanced flavors, where the sweetness of the bones and the aroma of the seasonings combine to create a harmonious and aromatic experience.

5. Toppings


Ramen dishes are typically topped with a variety of ingredients, such as sliced and braised pork (chashu), soft-boiled or marinated eggs (ajitsuke tamago), seaweed, bamboo shoots, and scallions, among others. Depending on the variety of ramen, topping options can vary.


Pho toppings typically consist of thinly sliced rare beef or poultry that cooks in hot broth, bean sprouts, lime wedges, Thai basil, and thinly sliced chili peppers. As condiments, Hoisin sauce and Sriracha may be offered.

6. Condiments


Ramen condiments include soy sauce, chili oil, sesame seeds, and sometimes a sprinkling of miso paste, allowing diners to customize the flavor.


Pho is typically served with a side plate of fresh herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges, and sliced chili peppers, allowing consumers to customize their bowls.

7. Cultural Significance


Ramen is ingrained in Japanese culture and has become a culinary icon of the country. It is frequently consumed in fast-food restaurants, but it can also be the subject of concentrated culinary artistry in fine dining establishments.


Pho is a staple of Vietnamese cuisine and has significant cultural significance. It is frequently consumed as a street cuisine, and consuming pho can be a communal experience in which diners customize their bowls with various herbs and condiments.

What similarities do ph broth and ramen broth share?

Pho broth and ramen broth share many similarities in their preparation despite their drastically different outcomes. Except for certain seafood- and salt-based ramen broths, both ramen and ph are meat-based broths that benefit from the unadulterated flavor of animal protein.

In addition, they are both prepared through lengthy simmering procedures that rely on prolonged cooking to adequately extract flavor and break down the meat and bones. Although the final taste of each of these broths is vastly distinct, they are both heated, savory broths that pair well with noodles.

Bottom Line

Ramen and pho are two delicious noodle dishes with distinguishing characteristics. Originating in Japan, ramen features a rich, flavorful broth frequently accompanied by various garnishes and regional variations. In contrast, pho is a Vietnamese dish with a transparent, aromatic broth infused with delicate herbs and garnished with bean sprouts, herbs, and lime. While both dishes have earned a place in the hearts of foodies around the globe, they each represent the culinary diversity and cultural wealth of their respective regions and offer unique experiences to those who enjoy them.

Read More: How Do You Make A Shepherd’s Pie?

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