Phở noodles are made from rice. They are flat in shape, white in color and smooth, soft, slippery and very slightly chewy in texture.
Where to buy
You can find pho noodles in different sizes, from small to large, and they can be available fresh or dried.
I have seen fresh rice noodles at Asian grocery stores, but I have not tried it yet. In Vietnam, it’s easy to buy fresh noodles so that’s what we often use when we’re in Vietnam.
Asian grocery stores usually carry dried pho noodles of many brands. My favorite brand is Three Elephants. Their pho noodles, when prepared according to package instructions, have the texture that is the closest to the noodles in Vietnam.
How to use
Pho can be used in noodle soups, stir-fry and noodle salad. You can find a lot of pho variations besides pho noodle soup in the North of Vietnam. In the South, pho is usually served as a noodle soup dish only.
It is not common to use small pho noodles in Northern Vietnam. As someone from the North, I often use large pho noodles.
With fresh pho noodles, you may just need to give it a quick rinse with hot water before using. However, with dried pho, you may need to cook it in boiling water for several minutes according to package instructions.
I think it is worth mentioning that the noodles a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in the U.S. use to make pho noodle soups are not pho noodles. They are more like Chinese rice noodles, which are called hu tieu in Vietnamese.