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View Full Version : How many Calories in pho?


Johnny L.A.
04-29-2008, 07:23 PM
My coworker and I were talking today, and we wondered how many Calories there are in pho. Yeah, I know. That's like asking 'How big is a book?' When I have pho it's almost always pho dac biet: soup, noodles, bean sprouts, basil, onion, cilantro, jalapeņos, raw beef, well-done beef, tendon, trips and beef balls. Serving size: Enormous. It's got to be 40 ounces.

She thinks it's about 600 - 700 Calories. I think the stock must have a lot of fat in it to make it so tasty. Only a couple of ounces of cow parts in it, but I'm guessing the whole thing would be 2,000 or 3,000 C.

Any ideas?

Jayrot
04-29-2008, 07:38 PM
I've wondered this same thing myself. You're way off on the 2-3000. As you noted, there's not a lot of (weight) meat in there. Bean sprouts, green onions, and rice noodles can't account for much. As you note, it's all about the broth. My guess is that the tastiness is primarily from an insane amount of sodium, not fat.

The only thing even like a cite I could provide is that I recently lost about 70 lbs over the last year or so. I did it by counting calories and tracking calories in vs. calories burned. I eat a large Pho twice per week and I was considering it to be about 800 calories (Pho Ga for me). The fact that my "diet" worked, means that I can't have been off by more about 1.5X in terms of calories otherwise it would have screwed my calculation.

YCMV

devilsknew
04-29-2008, 07:49 PM
This recipe for beef pho has 367 calories per 619 g serving (http://metrokc.gov/health/nutrition/recipes/pho.htm). Considering the size that you claim that your serving is and the extra meat, I'd probably double it and agree with Jayrot that it is around 800 calories more or less..

GilaB
04-29-2008, 08:13 PM
I've never had pho (no kosher Vietnamese restaurants yet), but the beef stock itself shouldn't be fatty, and if it were, you'd see the greasy layer floating on top. A good, rich stock can be almost fat-free if it's well skimmed - the rich taste comes from collagen in the bones cooking off, not from fat.

Johnny L.A.
04-29-2008, 10:40 PM
I've wondered this same thing myself. You're way off on the 2-3000.
That's pretty amazing, that something so tasty is relatively low in Calories.
I've never had pho (no kosher Vietnamese restaurants yet), but the beef stock itself shouldn't be fatty, and if it were, you'd see the greasy layer floating on top. A good, rich stock can be almost fat-free if it's well skimmed - the rich taste comes from collagen in the bones cooking off, not from fat.
Aha. You're right. I've made enough things with ham hocks or drippings that I should have thought of this.

We walked by the pho house today and I thought of getting some. Only it would have to sit on my desk for a couple of hours, a 20-minute bus ride, and a two hour drive before I could enjoy it.

devilsknew
04-30-2008, 02:40 AM
We walked by the pho house today and I thought of getting some. Only it would have to sit on my desk for a couple of hours, a 20-minute bus ride, and a two hour drive before I could enjoy it.

Maybe, ask them to give you the raw vegetables, or fresher bits of the pho on the side in a to go box. Nuke the beef and noodle soup and addd the fresh ingredients at the last minute.

Darryl Lict
04-30-2008, 02:49 AM
I've got a can of pho stock right here. Its got 70 calories in 28 oz. Then you can any amount of calories you like on top of it. I suspect most pho stock is a lot richer and has plenty of fat from the bone marrow.

MikeG
04-30-2008, 09:29 AM
My pho place will pack up the ingredients separately for to go orders.

Canned pho?!? God am I happy to live near a bustling Vietnamese area where I have to choose from 6-7 different pho places when I want some.

bump
04-30-2008, 09:57 AM
Bastard.

It's 9 am here, and I have a job interview in an hour, and all I can think about is a great big bowl of pho', complete with sriracha sauce, hoisin, and all the accoutrements.

hawthorne
04-30-2008, 10:06 AM
My pho place will pack up the ingredients separately for to go orders.
Yeah, that's how they do it here too. You get one bag with noodles, onion and raw beef and one with shoots, leaves and chillis. You nuke the container of stock and pour it over the former, then garnish with the latter.

And yes, it's the marrow that gives the stock that fabulous mouth-feel.

Johnny L.A.
04-30-2008, 11:41 AM
Yeah, that's how they do it here too. You get one bag with noodles, onion and raw beef and one with shoots, leaves and chillis. You nuke the container of stock and pour it over the former, then garnish with the latter.
I may have overestimated the size of the container. Probably 32 ounces and not 40. I don't pour the stock over the veg. Instead I tear them up and put them in the soup. I think next time I get it I'll forego the tripe. I like menudo, but pho tripe is crunchy.

Coworker did some searching, Jayrot's estimate is pretty close as there were several claims of 700 C. devilsknew's link is for a 16 oz. serving, which puts it right there in the ballpark.

devilsknew
04-30-2008, 01:13 PM
devilsknew's link is for a 16 oz. serving, which puts it right there in the ballpark.

I'm not saying your wrong, because grams are a weight measurement. But a 619g serving works out to around 22 ounces according to google calcualator.

WhyNot
04-30-2008, 01:24 PM
MikeG, where do I get good pho on the north side, please? And what do I need to know to order it without sounding like a stupid white girl? I've never tried it, but from the descriptions in this thread, I must remedy that!

WhyNot
04-30-2008, 01:29 PM
I'm not saying your wrong, because grams are a weight measurement. But a 619g serving works out to around 22 ounces according to google calcualator.
619g of water is exactly 619 mL, which is near close to 21 fluid ounces (20.93088), if we're going by volume. Of course, that's pure water. More dense things, like broth and meat, will make it less volume, and less dense things, like veggies, will give it greater volume.

Johnny L.A.
04-30-2008, 02:06 PM
And what do I need to know to order it without sounding like a stupid white girl?
Don't call it 'foe'. (It kind of sounds like 'fuh'.) Menus in every Vietnamese place I've been to have different sections for pho dishes, rice dishes, noodle dishes, house specialties, etc. So just look under the pho section and order by number. ;)

TheLoadedDog
04-30-2008, 02:44 PM
Yeah, that's how they do it here too. You get one bag with noodles, onion and raw beef and one with shoots, leaves and chillis. You nuke the container of stock and pour it over the former, then garnish with the latter.

And in my experience, it's never the same. Take-away pho is never even a quarter as good as the stuff you get in the restaurant. Even from the same restaurant. We have the best pho in the universe at one particular place in Sydney, and eating their stuff at home is very ordinary. I don't think it travels well.

scout1222
04-30-2008, 03:07 PM
I use the site Calorie King when I'm curious about stuff like this, because they have a pretty comprehensive listing of calorie counts.

I looked up pho, and found a listing for "Soups: Pho Tai (Rare Beef & Noodle Soup w. garnish, typical serving style)"

1.5 cups is 449 calories.

See here:

http://calorieking.com/foods/calories-in-soups-pho-tai-rare-beef-noodle-soup-w-garnish-typical-serving-style_f-Y2lkPTE3MTg1JmJpZD0xMDc1JmZpZD0xMDc4OTUmcGFyPQ.html

Darryl Lict
04-30-2008, 03:37 PM
Canned pho?!? God am I happy to live near a bustling Vietnamese area where I have to choose from 6-7 different pho places when I want some.
I just bought it out of curiosity. I'm quite confident it's not very good, but I think it might be tolerable with some rice vermicelli and some thinly sliced rare ribeye for a late night snack. I still want to try to make it from scratch, but it's really a hassle and the oxtails and bone marrow bones are surprisingly expensive. I've actually tried to make a low rent version out of beef stock and all the proper spices but it came out pretty mediocre. I doubt the canned stuff would be any worse.

Alas, our huge 1980's era Vietnamese population picked up and left for Fresno and Minnesota a long time ago. Anyhow, I think they were mostly Hmong, who I think have different culinary traditions. We still have 3 Vietnamese restaurants in town, but a big bowl of pho is twice what it would cost in Portland or Little Saigon in Orange County.

Don't call it 'foe'. (It kind of sounds like 'fuh'.) Menus in every Vietnamese place I've been to have different sections for pho dishes, rice dishes, noodle dishes, house specialties, etc. So just look under the pho section and order by number.
Like I said, we don't have a huge number of Vietnamese here in town. My favorite pho joint in town had a latina waitress.

Me: "Well I'll have some 'fuh' ".

Stupid waitress: "Tofu?".

Me: "No, Fuoh".

SW: "Tofu?".

Me: "No, Foe!".

SW: "Tofu?".

Me: "Dammit how about a number 21.".

Jeez, how can a friggin' waitress in a Vietnamese restaurant not know what "pho" is? These days, I just act like a clueless American and just say "foe". That waitress is the only one I've ever encountered who didn't know what I was talking about.

teela brown
04-30-2008, 03:49 PM
Good question. I've been eschewing carbs and losing weight for the last ten months, and my beloved pho was about the first thing crossed off my list. I used to eat it about twice a week. Of course, I usually added a glass of freshly-squeezed, sugary-as-hell limeade to it, so that was quite a calorie-laden lunch.


Alas, our huge 1980's era Vietnamese population picked up and left for Fresno and Minnesota a long time ago. Anyhow, I think they were mostly Hmong, who I think have different culinary traditions. We still have 3 Vietnamese restaurants in town, but a big bowl of pho is twice what it would cost in Portland or Little Saigon in Orange County.




Don't forget San Jose, where we have an enormous Vietnamese population. Our Little Saigon area is the bomb - we have more pho, bun and banh mi joints than you can count. Pho's pretty cheap here. I estimate about $5 to $8 will get you as big a bowl of pho as you could eat. I love living in an ethnically diverse area!

Vinyl Turnip
04-30-2008, 04:27 PM
That's pretty amazing, that something so tasty is relatively low in Calories.
On the other hand, it does contain a week's worth of sodium (or at least I've always assumed so).

My guess is that the bulk of the calories in phở, at least the way it's served here, come from the noodles. Most restaurants here tend to put a lot of them, too; I usually can't even come close to finishing an entire bowl.

If there's a more perfect comfort food on a cold, rainy day, I haven't found it.

Johnny L.A.
04-30-2008, 05:05 PM
On the other hand, it does contain a week's worth of sodium (or at least I've always assumed so).
Fortunately, I've never had a problem with high blood pressure. ;)

bump
04-30-2008, 05:49 PM
Pho's pretty cheap here. I estimate about $5 to $8 will get you as big a bowl of pho as you could eat. I love living in an ethnically diverse area!

That's about right price-wise for Houston and Dallas also. If anything, prices tend toward the bottom of that range.

Vietnamese sandwiches are pretty tasty as well, if you can get the real thing.

Johnny L.A.
04-30-2008, 06:49 PM
That's about right price-wise for Houston and Dallas also. If anything, prices tend toward the bottom of that range.

Vietnamese sandwiches are pretty tasty as well, if you can get the real thing.
The place I go to in Belltown (downtown Seattle) sells pho for $6.95, except for the Pho Tom (shrimp, broccoli, boc choi and carrots), which they sell for $8.20.

I haven't looked for Vietnamese sandwiches. The thing about Vietnamese food is that each restaurant has its own specialty. So when I was working Behind The Orange Curtain we could decide what kind of Vietnamese food we wanted and then choose the place in Little Saigon that did it best. Up here... Haven't found the Little Saigon area...

Wait. This just in. Coworker reports that there is a largely Vietnamese business district at 12th & Jackson.

Anyway, I had a gristly Vietnamese sandwich down in Garden Grove. So I tend to get non-sandwiches.

MikeG
04-30-2008, 09:00 PM
MikeG, where do I get good pho on the north side, please? And what do I need to know to order it without sounding like a stupid white girl? I've never tried it, but from the descriptions in this thread, I must remedy that!


Tank at the corner of Argyle and Broadway is very good. Just across the street is Ba Le; get their roast pork banh mi sammich, they are fantastic. You can get pate, chicken, and lots of other types as well.

Pho Hoa is in the little strip mall across the street from Furama a block south of Argyle on Broadway - they were the first place I ever had pho and they do a decent version as well.

Try those, tell me what you think and we can move on - those two places are a great palce to start, if you don't want the pho, try tho goi ga vietnamse chicken salad of cabbage mint, peanuts, onion hot peppers with an addicting dressing of lime and fish sauce, it's one of my all time favorite meals.

devilsknew
04-30-2008, 09:47 PM
Do Laotians do Pho, too?

TheLoadedDog
04-30-2008, 09:49 PM
Don't call it 'foe'. (It kind of sounds like 'fuh'.) Menus in every Vietnamese place I've been to have different sections for pho dishes, rice dishes, noodle dishes, house specialties, etc. So just look under the pho section and order by number. ;)

Actually, you're better calling it "fur". It works well with an Aussie accent, but I think Americans and Canadians might possibly need to be conscious not to hit that North American terminal 'r' sound too hard. You should be easily understood. Even better if you can do the tone - falling with a slight kick back up at the very end.

In that "best pho in the universe" place I've mentioned in this thread and elsewhere on these boards, it's even easier - they sell nothing else. You can just ask for "one beef" or "one special combination".

WhyNot
04-30-2008, 10:49 PM
Tank at the corner of Argyle and Broadway is very good. Just across the street is Ba Le; get their roast pork banh mi sammich, they are fantastic. You can get pate, chicken, and lots of other types as well.

Pho Hoa is in the little strip mall across the street from Furama a block south of Argyle on Broadway - they were the first place I ever had pho and they do a decent version as well.

Try those, tell me what you think and we can move on - those two places are a great palce to start, if you don't want the pho, try tho goi ga vietnamse chicken salad of cabbage mint, peanuts, onion hot peppers with an addicting dressing of lime and fish sauce, it's one of my all time favorite meals.
Thanks! Tonight my Chem class was discussing options for our end of semester celebratory meal next Wednesday, and someone suggested Pho Hoa - maybe I'll push for that one. (Or suggest Tank instead.)

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