Pho was born in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. The dish was heavily influenced by both Chinese and French cooking. Rice noodle and spices were imported from China; the French popularized the eating of red meat. In fact, it is believed that "phở" is derived from "pot au feu" a French soup. Vietnamese cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that is uniquely Vietnamese.
From North to South
The popularity of pho spread southwards starting in 1954 when the country was divided into North and South Vietnam. As the dish moved south, cooks infused it with additional ingredients until it evolved into the version that is commonly served today.
Pho in the United States
Refugees fleeing Vietnam in the Spring of 1975 brought with them their hopes and dreams of a better life. They also brought their cultures and cuisine, of which pho has become the most popular among Americans. Today there are more than 1000 pho restaurants spread across the United States. One typically finds Southern style pho served although a few outlets also serve Northern style pho. Typical establishments sell pho and other Vietnamese dishes like goi cuon (spring rolls) and cha gio (egg rolls).