Difference Between Pho and Ramen

Difference between Pho and Ramen

Ramen is a Japanese dish with wheat noodles, while Pho (pronounced fuh) is a Vietnamese noodle dish with rice noodles. Both utilize varying ingredients inspired by the regions they’re made in.

A bowl of perfectly seasoned broth and steamed noodles is enough to satisfy your taste buds. Among the wide varieties, Japanese ramen and traditional Vietnamese pho still rule the menu globally.

What is Pho? 

Pho is a famous soup dish from Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s pronounced as “fuh” and consists of rice noodles, secret spices, bone broth, and sliced meat (chicken, beef, or pork). This dish is garnished with bean sprouts and served with lots of fresh Thai basil, cilantro/coriander, radishes, and lime on the side.  

Technically, pho refers to the noodles, not the soup itself. Though the traditional recipe uses rice noodles, you can also find many regional variations. A steaming bowl of pho is believed to have medicinal properties and cure diseases. Its ingredients are a rich source of protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamins, and minerals. 

Note: Pho is Vietnam’s national dish. Its popularity grew worldwide after the refugees moved to other regions after the Vietnam war. Some pho restaurants also serve ground meatballs on the side. 

See Also:  Whats the Difference Between a Calzone and a Stromboli
A bowl of pho, complete with rice noodles, protein, and other toppings.
A bowl of pho, complete with rice noodles, protein, and other toppings.

Types of Pho 

Pho has seen a lot of variation since its globalization. Its two main varieties are Pho Nam and Pho Bac. While Pho Nam originated in Southern Vietnam, Pho Bac is from Northern Vietnam. 

It’s said that Pho Bac is the original pho noodle dish made by boiling beef bones for several days. The dish has a perfectly spiced yet simple broth served with wider rice noodles, sliced beef, and green onions

On the other hand, Northern Vietnam’s Pho Nam has a bold broth, thin rice noodles, lots of herbs, sliced beef, and other toppings.

Below are the other famous types of pho: 

  • Pho Ve Don 
  • Pho Chin  
  • Pho Vien
  • Pho Tai 
  • Pho Gau
  • Pho Gan   
  • Pho Sach

What is Ramen? 

Another popular noodle dish is ramen. Though it originated in China, it became an essential element of Japanese cuisine after WWII. 

Japanese ramen consists of long thin wheat flour noodles served in a meat-based broth. The broth is usually seasoned with some traditional spices and other toppings. Modern variations of ramen broths are vegetable-based.

Some typical toppings include:

  • Chāshū (Japanese braised pork belly)
  • Negi (green onion)
  • Takana-zuke (pickled and seasoned mustard leaves) 
  • Bean sprouts 
  • Kakuni (braised pork cubes) 
  • Nori (dried seaweed) 

Note: The key ingredient of ramen is Kansui.

Big, beautiful bowl of ramen with eggs, mushrooms, and various proteins.
This bowl of ramen contains traditional broth, wheat noodles, and extra toppings.

Types Of Ramen 

Ramen has thousands of varieties. Different regions experiment with the classic concept of ramen, changing and adding their flavors. Japan alone serves you a lot of variations. For example:

  • Shio ramen
  • Miso ramen
  • Tonkotsu ramen 
  • Shoyu ramen   
  • Tsukemen
See Also:  What's the Difference Between Chow Mein and Lo Mein?

Note: Instant ramen dishes are also available in the nearest grocery stores.

Difference Between Pho and Ramen

Check out some common differences between these two soupy noodle dishes.


Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup that traces back its origin in China and France. On the other hand, ramen originated in China but moved to Japan thanks to the Chinese immigrants. Now, it’s the national food of Japan.

Key Ingredients 

Another main difference between pho and ramen is their key ingredients. Pho is a noodle soup with a clear broth, rice noodles, and finely sliced beef. In contrast, ramen has a bold broth, wheat noodles, and pork. It’s seasoned with soft-boiled eggs and fresh scallions. 


Pho uses rice noodles. Ramen, on the other hand, is prepared with chewy wheat noodles. In some places, soba, thin noodles made from buckwheat, are also used to make your bowl of ramen. 


While pho is garnished with different cuts of pork, beef, chicken, fresh herbs, and veggies, ramen is embellished with pork, boiled egg, seaweed, and scallion.


Fresh lime slices/juice, fish sauce, chili sauce, and sliced chilies are added for vibrant flavors in your bowl of pho. However, ramen noodles are mostly flavored with soy sauce and miso.


The nutritional value of each dish depends on the amount and type of meat used. Beef pho broth, along with veggies and herbs, provides you with the following nutrition. 

Pho vs. Ramen

The following table summarizes the differences between pho and ramen discussed above. 

Phovs.RamenVietnam OriginJapanBeef or chicken broth with onion, ginger, coriander seed, fennel seed, and cloves.Types of BrothEither pork or chicken bone broth, and vegetables. 
Rice noodlesNoodlesWheat flour noodles include a special ingredient called kansui.
Slices of pork, beef, or chicken. Fresh herbs and veggies in veg varieties.ToppingsPieces of pork, boiled egg, seaweed, and scallion. Fresh herbs and veggies in veg varieties.
Lime slices/juice, fish sauce, chili sauce, or fresh chili.FlavorsSoy sauce, miso, and salt.
350-450 cal.Avg. Calories180 cal.
35-50gAvg. Carbohydrates27g
30gAvg. Protein5g
1500 mgAvg. Sodium890mg

Pho vs. Ramen: Which will you order?

Ramen and pho are two flavorful soupy noodle recipes that have gained popularity worldwide. The broth is the most critical element, and the preparation makes them unique. Their noodle types and toppings differ as well.

Now that you know the differences between pho and ramen, the tricky part is deciding what to drink with it. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What Types Of Ramen Are Gluten-Free?

Answer: Though gluten-free ramen isn’t popular, you can prepare homemade noodles using vegetable bouillon powder. 

Question: What Are The Different Types Of Vietnamese Pho?

Answer: The different types of Vietnamese pho are:

  • Beef pho (Phở bò)
  • Chicken pho (Phở gà)
  • Stir-fried pho (Phở xào)
  • Mixed pho (Phở trộn)
  • Pho rolls (Phở cuốn)

Question: What Are The Three Categories Of Ramen Broths? 

Answer: Ramen broth has three categories. These are shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), and miso. 


Vanessa is passionate about written communication, especially after beginning her career as a middle school English teacher. She’s an experienced content marketer as well. Vanessa loves to analyze, compare, and contrast, which is why she writes for ContrastHub. Besides writing, Vanessa is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, spicy food enthusiast, comedy nerd and lifelong learner.

Recent Posts