Pho Restaurant Calories 2024 – The Lowest Calorie Choices to Pick

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Helen Foster
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I just spent two weeks eating my way around Vietnam and am having a bit of a craving for their national soup Pho (pronounced fuh – kind of like fur) so the other day I nipped into Vietnamese chain Pho Cafe to get my fix – and left stuffed.

This was interesting because my meal of a massive bowl of chicken Pho complete with noodles and beansprouts was only 347 calories – my normal homemade salad at lunch contains more calories than that and I have to eat again at 3 pm!

Bowl of Pho from Pho Cafe served in a white bowl with a spoon and chopsticks

As I update this post in January 2024 the Pho Nutritional Information tells me that there are more than 28 main courses that weigh in at under 400 calories – and just 14 on the whole Pho Cafe menu that contain over 600 calories.

That’s incredible – sometimes when I write these posts I’m struggling to find more than 15 under 600 calories!

However, I know what it’s like when you’re sitting looking at the menu and you’re not sure if the Pork Spring Rolls starter is going to be a better choice than the Banh Xeo (not on the new menu they’re not) so, as per past posts of this nature (see the one on Wagamama here) I’ve gone through and pinpointed the lowest calorie choice for each option on the Pho Cafe menu…..

And here they are…

 

The Lowest-Calorie Dish at Pho Cafe is

The absolute lowest calorie option on the Pho Cafe menu is the Papaya Salad with Prawn which has just 129 calories – a number so low I had to check it wasn’t a side dish.

This comes with a serving of Prawn Crackers which adds 59 calories, which if you eat them (and why wouldn’t you) takes the whole dish to 184 calories.

The lowest calorie option without a side dish is the Veggie Salad which combines veggies with herbs and a chilli and ginger dressing. This has just 153 calories.

While both of these options are super low, it’s actually not a good idea to cut calories THAT low for a main meal.

219 calories of shredded chicken salad at Pho Cafe. Yum.
210 calories of shredded chicken salad. Yum.

The NHS suggests a main meal should be closer to 600 calories if you’re not trying to lose weight – 400-500 is a good idea if you are.

So, you might want to add the salad to another meal – or, add some Chicken, or THIS Isn’t Chicken Summer Rolls (183 or 196 calories) or an extra side of protein like the Vietnamese Chicken and Prawn Pancake – 226 calories – on to the side to bulk things out a bit.

But what if you don’t feel like a salad what other low-calorie options are on the Pho Cafe menu…

The 15 Lowest Calorie Options at Pho Cafe at a Glance

The calories below refer to the items as served (so, include things like the Prawn Crackers with the Papaya Salad)

Name of the DishCalories as Served
Veggie Salad 153
Mango Salad 175
Green Papaya Salad – Prawn184
Chicken Salad210
THIS isn’t Chicken Salad233
Green Papaya Salad – Chicken244
Green Papaya Salad – THIS isn’t Chicken262
THIS isn’t chicken Rice Bowl w Cauli Rice269
Steak Pho287
3 Mushrooms Pho290
Hot and Spicy King Prawn Pho301
Chargrilled Chicken Thigh Rice Bowl w Cauli Rice303
King Prawn Pho305
King Prawn Vermicelli Noodles315
Hot & Spicy 3 Mushroom Pho335

All of those are a bit too low in calories for a main dish, so you will need to add sides or starters to those.

To be honest, you really don’t need to restrict yourself on most sections of the menu at Pho. The only sections where things go over 600 calories are in the Curry Noodle Soup and the curries themselves.

How Much Difference Does Cauliflower Rice Make

If you do feel like ordering one of the curry meals, or the Rice Bowls on the Pho menu, these come with the choice of Broken Rice or Cauliflower Rice and you might be wondering whether it’s worth making the swap.

The answer is yes it is – you save 306 calories a portion picking Cauliflower Rice as it has just 64 calories. That’s enough for a whole other meal in here – or at least a delicious starter!

Is Pho Healthy?

Generally yes.

Much of the fat in Pho is skimmed off as part of the cooking process so most Pho soups are very low in fat – the King Prawn Classic Pho at Pho Cafe for example has less than 1g of fat in a bowl.

There are also a few health benefits traditionally ascribed to eating Pho – for example…

  1. It’s said that the mix of spices within it helps tackle colds and flu. It does clear your nose for sure.
  2. Traditional Pho is a breakfast food and is therefore said to be an awesome cure for hangovers – I have also tested this one. It’s true.
  3. A good pho stock is made by boiling bones for hours and skimming off the fat. This accounts for its low-calorie count but also ensures it’s high in minerals. Pho Cafe says their phos are high in folate, iron, and magnesium.

So, what if you’re also watching other health factors like saturated fat or sodium alongside your calories – or avoiding things like meat or gluten – what are the lowest calorie choices in Pho that combine both? Here’s what you need to know …

Bowl of beef pho being eaten with chopsticks. A side of spring rolls lies beside the bowl.

Healthy Options at Pho

The Lowest Calorie & Saturated Fat Main Meal

You’re going to want to head to the Pho part of the menu, everything on here is low in saturated fat. But the choice that’s the lowest in calories and saturated fat is the Steak Pho which has just 287 calories and less than 0.5g of saturated fat.

If you are adding something to increase your calories, maybe pick the Prawn Summer Rolls which have 145 calories and less than 0.5g of saturated fat.

The Lowest Sodium Item in Pho

This is interesting, as considering they are super clear on their other nutritional information, Pho doesn’t list its sodium counts. However, Pho generally can be high in sodium.

The Lowest Calorie Vegetarian or Vegan Option

The Pho menu is over 40 percent plant-based so you’re spoilt for choice, but, if you want the lowest calorie vegetarian option pick the Veggie Salad which is both vegetarian and vegan and has 159 calories.

Again, that’s too low for a main meal so you might also want to add some Summer Rolls – the ones with ‘this isn’t chicken’ have 196 calories.

Watch the Prawnless Crackers though – a stand-alone portion has 320 calories.

The Lowest Calorie Gluten-Free Choice

Most of the Pho Cafe menu is gluten-free, including the whole Pho section as these use rice noodles which are gluten-free.

Exclusions include the Spring Rolls – and, these can be removed from the dishes they come on as a standard to make those gluten-free. The Hoi Sin sauce also contains gluten so skip that as an option.

Bowl of Pho

However, the lowest-calorie gluten-free choice is the Green Papaya Salad with Prawn at 129 calories – again though, you will need to add some extra dishes to this to bring the calories up.

Normally at this point, I have to add a big warning about cross-contamination but Pho Cafe also has gluten-free accreditation from the Coeliac Society which means they class them as as safe as possible for people avoiding gluten for medical reasons to eat it. Pho do suggest you also tell your server that you’re gluten-free so they’re fully aware and can tell the kitchen to be extra careful.

Can You Go Keto at Pho?

Yes. They suggest ordering one of the Rice Bowls with Cauliflower Rice – the lowest carb within these is the Chargrilled Pork which has 15.9g of carbs and 4.5g of fibre giving you 11.4g of net carbs.

Cauliflower rice is classed as zero carb on the Pho Menu.

What’s the Lowest Calorie High Protein Choice at Pho

If you’re more interested in protein than carbs, the best option for you is the Beef Combo Classic Pho. It has just 396 calories, but 39.2g of protein -one of the highest on the menu.

If we haven’t mentioned your favourite and you want to find the rest of the Pho menu calories or other elements of Pho Cafe nutrition information, here’s a link to the table on the PhoCafe website

If you like this post on the lowest calorie options at Pho Cafe, you’ll also find a whole load of other calorie guides to UK chains in our calorie guides section, here.


Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

5 thoughts on “Pho Restaurant Calories 2024 – The Lowest Calorie Choices to Pick”

  1. Helen, thanks for this review. I am going to take my children there. It looks great. And fantastic to know that the calories are reasonable. Trying to get children’s tastes developed out of the boring norm. Just got no.2 daughter to eat sushi so I’m quite excited about that too – Yosushi here we come – although they think they are going to see Johnny English style person get their tie caught in the conveyor belt! I sense they will be disappointed and I’ll have to wear some cheap jewellery and oblige! Pho Café – next on the list. Thanks again for this review.

    Reply
  2. Hello I was just wondering are the calorie counts correct because my bowl of pho is massive and how do they know it’s correct

    Reply
    • They’ll use the weight of each ingredient to calculate them so as long as they haven’t changed the recipe they will be correct. Also a lot of Pho is broth which will be low in calories. The noodles will add the most.

      Reply

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