Menudo Vs Pho: Which One Is Tastier?

menudo vs pho

Pho to Vietnamese is like menudo to Mexicans, both of which are somehow considered the country’s unofficial national dish. While these delicacies cannot be more different from each other, they still share certain similarities. That is why in the article today, you will get the chance to look at menudo vs pho with a detailed comparison.

Quick Facts

Menudo:

  • Country of origin: Mexico.
  • Ingredients: tripe.
  • Cooking method: stewing on the stovetop.
  • Appearance: reddish-brown broth and meat.

Pho:

  • Country of origin: Vietnam.
  • Ingredients: beef or chicken.
  • Cooking method: stewing the broth and boiling the rice noodles.
  • Appearance: multi-colored broth and translucent noodles.

Related: My favorite list of the top 30+ Mexican foods

2 Similarities Of Menudo & Pho

1. Impact

Menudo and pho are regarded as the ultimate cure to hangovers, as they replenish the much-needed water for a dehydrated body. Furthermore, they are highly nutritious and can instantly fill your stomach, thus reducing nausea and energizing the mind. 

Of course, the wide variety of herbs and spices cooked together with these two dishes does help with this rather special benefit. 

2. Broth preparation

These two dishes are watery, so the broth is the deal-breaker when it comes down to how they taste in the end. Both menudo and pho require long hours of simmering so that the essence of the tripe and beef bones can slowly dissolve into the water. Usually, it takes four to eight hours for the broth to be done properly.

4 Key Differences Between Menudo Vs Pho

1. Country of origin

Menudo is a dish unique to Mexico, although little is known about its specific birthplace. While northern Mexicans enjoy the menudo Rojo, another variation called menudo Blanco is more well-known in the central and southern provinces.

As we know it today, Pho could be traced back to the early 20th century in Vietnam and is believed to come from the citadel and the nearby city in the north. There are still contentions over the inspiration of pho since many people chalk it down to Guangdong’s cuisine or the French beef stew. But virtually everyone today agrees pho is a quintessential Vietnamese dish. 

2. Ingredients

Menudo is cooked using a peculiar protein – tripe. Sometimes, beef feet and tendon are mixed together to balance the taste and help cleanse the odor of tripe. This food also relies heavily on chili pepper, lime, chopped onions, and lime juice for its exotic flavor.

On the other hand, pho either uses beef or chicken as the main protein. The marrow from beef bones is reserved for the broth, while the noodles – aptly named pho – are made from rice. Furthermore, a bowl of pho could not be completed with the five most essential spices: cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and star anise. That is not to mention other additions like fish sauce, sugar, ginger, onions, etc.  

3. Cooking method

When cooking menudo, the protein and the broth are stirred together and put on a stovetop until the meat becomes soft and tender.

Unfortunately, the technique required in pho is not that straightforward. After the broth is done, you have to dip the rice noodles in the boiling broth for roughly ten seconds so they become edible. If you are using dried rice noodles, boil them for around a quarter.

4. Appearance

Menudo has a distinct look with its reddish-brown broth and meat. On top of the bowl, you can spot chopped onions and cilantro with a slice of lime.

Pho is served in a big bowl with chopsticks and a soup spoon. At first look, you can see the three separate parts: the translucent noodles, the slightly oily broth, and the fresh herbs and bean sprouts. Traditionally, a few spoons of chili sauce and/or hoisin sauce will be added on top.

What Does Menudo Taste Like?

Menudo usually tastes a bit savory and smoky at the first bite. The soup can be a bit dense and flavorful on your tongue, while the tripe is rather bland when eaten alone. You need the herbs to bring out the best of the dish. 

Why Does Menudo Smell Unpleasant?

Menudo’s main ingredient is the cow’s stomach, which can smell like a barnyard. But worry not, it will go away once washed and rinsed properly.

What Is Pho Traditionally Served With?

A bowl of pho in Vietnam comes with lime, chili, basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, radishes, etc. In certain places, pho is accompanied by fried bread known as “quay” in Vietnamese. 

Is It Rude To Drink Pho From The Bowl?

Yes, the local people have low regard for those slurping pho directly from the bowl. To eat it the right way, use the chopsticks to put the noodles inside the spoon, then dip the spoon into the broth before savoring.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of Elpasony.com. She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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