Noodle Bar in Phoenix in Serving Vegan Ramen.

Noodle Showdown: Pho vs. Ramen

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Noodle Bar, a Japanese restaurant in Phoenix offers insight on Pho and Ramen. At first glance, Pho and Ramen can easily be confused but to those that know the unique differences they are both delectable Asian dishes. Piles of long noodles and hot broth are the general components but it’s the subtle tastes, ingredients and preparation techniques that separate these two dishes. Pho comes from the Vietnamese culture and ramen has a Japanese origin. Here is a brief overview of the differences so the next time you are faced with one of them on a menu, you’ll know the exactly what you’re ordering.


Unlike Pho’s consistent grouping of ingredients and toppings, the variations of ramen are wide ranging. This dish consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a meat (occasionally fish) broth with a variety of topping choices. There is no “basic” ramen dish because each specific region in Japan has developed its own unique variation. There are five general types of ramen dishes based on the flavoring of the broth.

  • Shōyu- which means soy sauce. This is the oldest of the five and has a tangy, salty and savory flavor that is surprisingly light.
  • Shio– the Japanese word for salt. This variation has a clear, yellowish broth made from a combination of chicken, fish, vegetables and seaweed.
  • Miso– this is the newest variation of ramen, which combines miso (fermented soybeans) with an oily chicken or fish broth to produce a nutty, thick and slightly sweet broth.
  • Tonkotsu– this broth is basically made from boiling pork bones for a handful of hours and results in a dark, savory pork-flavored broth that is thick enough to be compared to milk or gravy.
  • Curry– pork bones, vegetables, and curry make up this variation that was first created in 1965.


This popular Vietnamese street noodle dish was developed in northern Vietnam in the early 20th century. The dish typically consists of the same base ingredients like Thai basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, lime wedges, green onions, chili peppers, clear beef or chicken broth and white rice noodles. Traditional beef broth for Pho is made by simmering a collection of beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger, and spices. For the chicken broth variation, chicken bones and meat are used instead to create the broth.

While it would take a long time to list all the popular types of ramen there are, it would be easier for you to come to the Noodle Bar and try out some of our perfectly crafted ramen dishes. To take a look at some of our specialty ramen dishes, visit our restaurant in Downtown Phoenix and taste t. The best ramen in Phoenix is located right downtown!

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