Trader Joe’s Beef Pho Soup Review

Trader Joe's Beef Pho Soup

Hot pho has a belly-warming quality that makes it great to eat on a cold day. So it’s appropriate, then, that we’re trying the Trader Joe’s Beef Pho Soup as we look out the window at the freshly fallen snow.

In case you aren’t familiar, pho is a Vietnamese soup, typically made with rice noodles. It commonly uses a beef broth, though we’ve had vegetarian pho that uses a vegetable-based broth. In fact, two of our staffers recently went out to pick up pho from a local Vietnamese restaurant, and one of them opted for a vegetarian version. So it can be done. The Trader Joe’s pho we’re eating today, however, is not vegetarian-friendly.

This pho can be heated in the microwave, though it’s also really easy to make on the stovetop. For this review, we tossed ours into a saucepan and let it simmer until it was toasty hot all the way through. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions for this frozen pho, check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.)

One thing we should point out right away is that if you order pho at a restaurant, it’s likely that there will be a ton of broth — an absolute boatload of it. That’s not the case here. There’s some broth, certainly, but nowhere near as much as we expected. It also tastes a little strange. It has an almost cinnamon-like flavor to it, which we didn’t care for (there isn’t actually any cinnamon here, so we’re not sure where that flavor comes from). It also has an odd aftertaste that we didn’t enjoy at all.

Trader Joe's Beef Pho Soup

Another thing we’d expect from a restaurant-quality pho is a generous portion of high-quality beef. There’s beef here, but the portion size isn’t generous and the quality of the beef is actually kind of low. In fact, this is surprisingly mediocre for a Trader Joe’s meal. It has a dried-out flavor, and the consistency is gravelly.

The majority of this meal, of course, is rice noodles, and they’re alright. They’re a little soggy, but that’s not really a bad thing here, and they don’t taste bad. In fact, we’d say the noodles are the best part of this dish.

One package of this pho contains only 220 calories, making this a meal that dieters can enjoy. There’s a caveat though: This also contains 860 mg of sodium, which is kind of high, even for a frozen meal. If you’re trying to reduce your sodium intake, this pho is probably not for you.

The Trader Joe’s Beef Pho Soup is a poor attempt at capturing what makes pho so great. We say this as people who tend to go out for pho frequently, so maybe our standards are just too high here, but we were really disappointed by this bowl of soup.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this Trader Joe’s pho, check out our package scans below.

Trader Joe's Beef Pho Soup
Trader Joe's Beef Pho Soup
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1 year ago

I loved this soup. I’ve had pho made by a Vietnamese man from scratch and this was close. Loved it.

9 months ago

I just had this soup…this is not what I’ve come to know as Pho soup. I smelled cinnamon as well, when I pulled it out of the microwave, and though I didn’t taste any at 1st, there seems to be cinnamon in the aftertaste? Gack. I looked up the usual ingredients for Pho soup and cinnamon is listed…though if they did put cinnamon (and/or other hidden ingredients in there.) they really should be more transparent…for the sake of allergies if nothing else. Also, the best Pho soup I’ve had is when there is Ginger or Lemongrass, I find those kick the other flavors in Pho up a few notches, yet I’ve had hell of a time trying to find store bought noodle bowls that have either.

8 months ago

I agree entirely with the reviewer’s comment that TJ’s beef pho is a real disappointment. And thanks for the three dinky pieces of beef.

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