Phở bò or Vietnamese beef noodle soup with Instant Pot

Houston’s weather has been so weird! One day it’s warm, the next day it’s freezing; it also doesn’t help that it rains all day long. Anyway, because of the cold weather, I’ve been craving a really good bowl of phở. I love a good phở! I could definitely eat it everyday but it always take forever to cook it. On average, it takes around 5-6 hrs to cook a good broth and who really has time for that?

Soooo when I heard of the instant pot, I was really interested in it. Amazon had a sale and I couldn’t resist. It was one of those impulse purchase, but one of the best thing that I ever bought myself. It took me about 2-2:30 hrs from start to finish, this includes the time for preparation, the instant pot’s time to build pressure and cooling down.

Today I’m sharing with you my own recipe. I watched several youtube videos before perfecting this so I hope you’ll enjoy it!

• 2 lbs of beef brisket

• 1-1.5lb of beef bones and bone marrow

• Ginger, garlic, shallots, white onions, scallions

• Pho spice bag

• Fish sauce, crystal sugar, salt, hoisin sauce, lime, veggies (basil, mint, bean sprouts (optional))

• Dried noodle or fresh noodles

Put all the meat and bones into a big pot, add water to cover the bones and meats and boil for about 20-25 mins to “wash” all the imperfections out and then rinse with cold water. 

Wash white onions, and ginger then cut them in half. Peel garlic, shallots. Wash and cut scallions into small pieces.

Turn on the saute function in your Instant pot, add ginger and onions into the pot and “grill” them for a few mins. Then add the meats, bones, crystal sugar, garlic and shallots. Hit cancel. Close the lid, make sure you have the vent closed, then press the broth button, change the pressure to high and change the timer to 1 hr. 

And now you wait and let the pot do its thing. Once its done, let it cool down for 20 mins before you release the vent. Take the meat part out but leave the bones inside, you can add 4-5 cups of water now for extra both if you want. I didn’t because I only cook for myself so I don’t need that much broth. And then add the pho spice bag, fish sauce, press the saute function, change the timer to 20 minutes. I left the bag in for about 20 mins because I want a stronger and flavorful broth, but if you don’t want a stronger taste then just leave it in for 15 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Cook the noodle and cut the meats, eat with hoisin sauce and veggies if you want to. Enjoy!

I also made a vegetarian version of pho and it took less an hour to make. If you’re interested, please comment below and I will post my recipe. 😀

Here’s a sneak peak at my veggie pho:


I went home for Vietnamese new year or Tết this year. It’s been 9 years since I got to experience Tết at home with my family. We don’t really celebrate Tết here, it’s just a normal day for us. My mom doesn’t give any offerings during Tet, and now that I’m an adult I don’t do it neither. Most of the time it doesn’t really feel all that special anyway.

Everything looks interesting to me.

So for anyone who doesn’t know, I moved to the States about 18 years ago when I was a teenager. I have fond memories of Tết, but if you don’t celebrate it often, you don’t remember how to do things.

Anyway, here’s grandma’s offering table on New Year’s eve:

After the offering, she burned the papers.

Bánh chưng!

We were on our way home and I saw these people cooked bánh chưng behind one of the temples, so naturally I had to take pictures. 😛

There were 6 or 7 big pots like this to cook them! You don’t see this often anymore in a big city like Saigon.

Saigon at night is soooo pretty! It has gotten so big and so different since I went back 3 years ago. It changes every year and I often find myself getting lost.

I came back to Houston 2 weeks ago and was so sick and jet-lagged. It was so good to be home though. I miss my grandma a lot. Hopefully I will get to see her next year.

Grandma Vu’s fried rice

I don’t make this dish often, I only make it when I crave for it or when I miss her…

My grandma is a wonderful, kind and awesome woman. If you ever get a chance to meet her, you will understand. Let’s go back 32 years ago, my mother had me and didn’t tell her that she had a baby so she rented a house and left me with a caregiver, who apparently kept giving me sleeping medications. You have to imagine Saigon 30 years ago when it’s not ok to have a child out of wedlock. So for my mom to give birth to me and raise me by herself that was very brave and a huge sacrifice on her part as well. Anyway not sure how grandma Vu found out about me but she made mom moved home and took me in. I was a premie, nobody expected me to live but she took such good care of me that only did I survive, I caught up pretty quickly to other kids. She continued to raise me because my mom works and had nobody to help.

I was 9 when my mom decided to move to the USA, so I stayed behind and lived with grandma and tata, my other aunt. And so she continued to raise me for another 6 years.

I had a pretty awesome childhood! I was so spoiled, I didn’t have to do anything, she didn’t teach me to cook or clean so I learned it the hard way when I moved to the US to live with my mom. Nonetheless the time I spent with her is the best time ever. Tata worked, she took over mom’s jewelry business when she left so tata was not home that often. Grandma fed and got me ready for school, brought me to tutoring after school and waited outside until classes are done.

On weekends, I stayed home with her. She would make this fried rice for me. Grandma can’t cook all that well actually, the only 2 good dishes she makes are a sweet and sour beef soup and this fried rice. It would taste soooo good! It’s really simple, just left-over rice, eggs, salt, pepper and sugar. I don’t know why her rice is always soooo good!

When I make it, I added butter, garlic, shallots and onions for a stronger taste. It is good, but her dish is always the best.

I miss my grandma. She just turned 84 this year, I know our time is limited so I try to come home often to see her.

My 1st knitted hat!

I have been trying to learn to knit for years but never success. So around Christmas time of 2018, I thought why not pick it up again? I know I need to start slow and be patient with it. Well! I am presenting to you my very 1st knitted hat, it has tons of mistakes, but I’m soooo sooo proud of it! My resilience finally paid off.

Pattern by #bhookedknitting with some modifications because apparently I can’t follow instructions lol. I did 2k, 2p instead of 1k, 1p like she taught.

Yarn: oatmeal heather, Serenity by Premier yarn. It’s a size 5 bulky and I used a size 11 circular needle.

Lotus flower blanket

This was inteded as a Christmas gift for my cousin who lives in NY. Well obviously I suck at time management so the blanket is not even halfway done yet, and I’m supposed to mail it out already. Sooooo I’m hoping to be done before Feb to mail it out before her birthday in March.

I’m using a whole cake of Pegasus (Mandala by Lion Brand) and some left-over yellow from previous project. You can find the pattern with steps by steps video instructions here.

Here I am about halfway through row 28.

I kinda… saved a life yesterday!

I had a patient who had just came back from surgery in the morning. When I came in to see him at the beginning of the shift, he was the same usual self, asking for pain meds, and there was no bleeding on his dressing. Around 11:30, he called me in because he felt like he was bleeding so I came in. He had bled and it soaked to the bedding linen. I reinforced the dressings, call the surgeon. He told me to do the same thing and gave orders for lab works. It kept bleeding, we keep changing and reinforcing the dressing. An hour and half passed and he was still bleeding so I called the surgeon and he came in to see the patient. Well, he took off the dressing and blood squirted everywhere, it squirted onto his scrubs, the bed, everything. So he ended holding pressure to this guy’s arm for like 45 mins. His blood pressure drops to the 80’s and I started his blood transfusion.

Sooo yeah, poor kid ended up transferring to ICU, I spent 2 hours at bedside with him before the transfer. It’s so crazy, happening so fast. But I’m glad that he’s getting higher level of care and praying that he’s doing ok.

Miss Earth 2018

Thật sự lâu rồi ko có theo dõi những cuộc thi Hoa Hậu nữa. Phần vì nhà có cable, phần vì ko có thời gian nữa. Nhưng hôm qua tình cờ biết được cô gái từ VN Nguyễn Phương Khánh vừa đăng quang Miss Earth 2018, mình thấy quá sức thuyết phục! Tuổi trẻ tài cao! Câu trả lời súc tích ngắn gọn. E gái quá tuyệt vời! Chúc mừng e!

Mình tạm dịch câu hỏi và trả lời ở đây nhé:

Câu hỏi: đối với thế hệ trẻ thì vấn đề nào là quan trọng nhất hiện giờ

Câu trả lời:

Xin chào tất cả mọi người, câu trả lời của tôi là vấn đề nghiêm trọng nhất cho thế hệ của chúng tôi là việc thiếu kiến thức. Chúng tôi có những công nghệ cao cấp nhưng mà không biết sử dụng một cách đúng chỗ và chỉ quan tâm đến chính chúng tôi mà thôi. Chúng tôi cần nên suy nghĩ và cảm nhận điều gì đang xảy ra với trái đất này. Một hành động nhỏ nhưng được nhân rộng bởi nhiều người thì sẽ thay đổi cả thế giới.

Xem video phỏng vấn ở đây, (bé Khánh là người cuối cùng trả lời)


I came back to Houston about a week ago. I stayed in NY for 2 weeks. Mom still has pain so she stayed a few more weeks because she has doctor appointments and so hopefully she’ll be able to join me in Houston in a few weeks. My house is a mess, I need to clean and vacuum but I’ve been so lazy! I’m hoping to finish this Statistics class soon so I can move on. It’s just been so long and boring. 😞 I’m glad to be home, Mimi misses me so she’s been following me every where I go. 😊


I was 15 when we moved to upstate New York, I was 31 when I moved to Houston. My home might be in Houston for now but my heart is in NY. I miss the seasons change, the crisp air, products from New York State apples and Stewarts ice cream and milk shakes.

Apples in Houston taste so different. They don’t have the juicy bites and the firmness that I’m used to. They’re just very different. Houston has pumpkin patches and fall decorations too but because we don’t have the crisp air, it just doesn’t feel the same. Also the air quality in upstate NY is so different, it’s refreshing and clean!

I had to come home emergent because my mom had some complications after her surgery. She’s doing ok now, but it was scary as heck. After 2 urgent care visits and 1 ER visit, they finally figured it out. She hasn’t had any pain since so hopefully this is it. I’m staying here for a couple more days and then I have to head back to work.

But anyway, here are some pictures that I took from my visit in NY.