Vietnamese Duck Pho

4.82 from 16 votes
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Finished Duck Pho Recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

When I told Holly I wanted to make a wild duck pho, she smirked: “I think you should call it ‘phuk.'” Perfect! So here ya go: My wild game version of that Vietnamese classic soup. And lemme tell ya, it is phuk-ing good!

I got the inspiration to make this dish after reading Heather’s post on her leftover turkey pho, which is pronounced “fuh,” just do you know. Pho is typically made with beef broth, and duck’s meaty, dark meat is an excellent substitute.

America’s favorite pho is pho tai, which is the soup served with thinly sliced strips of beef, which are tossed into the soup raw and are cooked by its heat. Again, duck breast is the perfect stand-in.

What’s more, pho is one or our favorite meals after a morning of duck hunting. It is warm, flavorful and very, very filling — if you order the gi-normous bowl, as I always do. The key is in the broth, which is sweet-smelling from ginger, star anise and other spices. You can’t make good pho without good broth.

So I spent three hours making a lovely pho broth with my various bits. Two key things about pho broth: First, you do not roast the bones. Pho broth should be light. Second, it need body, which is why it is traditionally made with knuckle bones. My solution was to add duck feet, which have collagen in them to add body. Be sure to hack at them a few times with a cleaver or heavy knife to open them up to the broth.

For you duck hunters out there, this is a perfect use for all the carcasses and giblets and feet you will collect. It should make you feel better about breasting out birds, too, because you can breast out a bird, skin it and then keep the remainder for this recipe.

For non-hunters, you can easily do this with domestic duck or goose — but be sure to remove as much fat as you can, because pho broth is not supposed to be greasy; a little fat is good, but not great globs of it.

Duck Pho Recipe
4.82 from 16 votes

Duck Pho, Vietnamese Duck Soup

Making pho is pretty time-consuming on the front end, but once you make the broth this comes together quickly. Don’t try to skip the broth-making here — the broth makes or breaks a good pho, and besides, this is a perfect use for leftover duck carcasses. Once made, the broth can be frozen for months or refrigerated for a few days. When you serve, have everything set out beforehand and bring it all together quickly.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 8 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes



  • 3 pounds duck carcasses, necks, feet and giblets
  • 2 sliced onions
  • A 6-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 5 star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/2 cup fish sauce


  • 4 duck breasts
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 pounds pho bo noodles or Japanese soba
  • 2 thinly sliced onions
  • 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 pound bean sprouts
  • A large bunch of cilantro or Asian basil
  • 4 hot chiles, thinly sliced


  • To make the broth, put all the duck bits into a large stock pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim the scum that rises to the top, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Do not let it boil from here on in.
  • While the water is coming to a boil, toast in a dry frying pan the coriander, cloves, fennel seed, cardamom and star anise until fragrant. Stir often to keep from burning.
  • Once the water in the stockpot is pretty much scum-free, add the onion, ginger, spices, fish sauce, sugar and salt and stir well. Move the pot off the center of the burner a little and simmer for at least 2 hours — I do three hours. Moving the pot off to the side a little allows you to periodically skim the top. You want to get most of the fat off the top.
  • Once the broth begins to taste yummy, turn off the heat and discard all the duck bits, onion, etc. Then strain the broth through a piece of cheesecloth set in a fine-meshed sieve. Pour slowly and discard the last dregs of the broth, which will have sediment in it.
  • If you want to be fancy, cool the broth now and once it has been refrigerated for a while, pick off the fat cap that may form.
  • To serve, heat the broth — do not let it boil — with the 4-inch piece of ginger and the sliced onions. Let this heat through until the onions are wilty, about 10 minutes.
  • Set out an array of condiments: Herbs, bean sprouts, sliced chiles, fish sauce, hot sauce and hoisin sauce. This is traditional, although you can improvise if needed. The one thing you must have is fresh herbs, however.
  • Boil water, salt it, and cook the noodles. Traditional pho noodles (available at Asian stores) are best, but I also like Japanese buckwheat noodles, which, while untraditional, taste perfect with the gaminess of wild duck.
  • Put 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a pan and get it hot. Sear the duck breasts on all sides under a very hot fire — you want a nice sear on the edges but for the duck to still be raw inside. You need not do this, but the seared edges add something to the dish.
  • When the noodles are done, gather up portions and put them in serving bowls.
  • Slice the duck breast as thin as you can and lay them on the noodles.
  • Pick out the ginger from the broth, then pour some broth over the noodles and duck. Be sure to give everyone some onions. Serve at once. Let everyone add whatever condiments they want.


Calories: 653kcal | Carbohydrates: 110g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 3160mg | Potassium: 573mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 60IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. The 2tbsp salt and 3tbsp sugar seems far too much and overpower the other flavours. I’d add it in bit by bit at the end until you’re happy with the seasoning. Other than that the recipe is delicious!

  2. I give you a9.9. You are so close to authentic that it’s a shame you tweaked it a bit. The broth onions don’t need to be sliced, you could halve the fish sauce and add at the end to taste, the sesame oil is a conflicting flavor, and the buckwheat noodles make me sad. The rest of the recipe is brilliant. You could show readers what a garnish plate looks like. And yes, phuck is a good name. As a Vietnanese guy, those plays on words usually annoy me but that’s funny.

  3. Delicious! I made this using wild duck my father hunted. We love it! I’m Always looking for good wild game recipes. So lucky I found you! Thank you for sharing

  4. Have you ever made the stock with sea ducks? If so, I’m assuming you’re removing all of the fat from the carcass.

  5. is it possible to make with the more stinky spoonies? i refuse to use bacon or any fat from another animal, so trying all recipes to make these species work.

  6. So if I make this with just one duck carcass, do I cut the recipe? I’m trying to figure out how much seasoning to add.

  7. I just finished making this and it was terrific. I had to add more water as I went, and I also used about 4 cups of chicken stock in making the broth, But it was rich and flavorful. My best pho yet, and I got even more use out of my Christmas duck.

  8. This is my first season successfully harvesting enough ducks to really get in the kitchen and mess around. I have been saving bones and bits since the beginning of the season and I just enjoyed my first bowl of Phuk. It was great. I was even inspired to add some asian greens to it and make a quick pickled carrot garnish. My gf said it tasted better than what we get in the restaurant, not surprising. Only quirk I encountered was that I think it over reduced despite adding additional water at different times in the making. It just seemed like it made such a small amount of broth in the end, though that little bit was packed with flavor.

    As I type this I have a batch of your stock recipe working on the stove too. Thanks for writing such a great blog and inspiring me to get in the kitchen.

  9. Hank, when I lived in SF I used to go to a place in the Haight called Phuket, so you’re not far off with Phuk It. The pho looks scrumptious. It’s perfect stuff for this time of year–especially when you have several inches of the white stuff on the ground as we do in Seattle. Hey, but the days are now getting longer. Happy solstice!

  10. Ok, I can’t help myself. Some other restaurant names:
    Phuking Fowl
    Hank’s Phuk Hut
    Pluk First, Phuk Later
    Phuk’in Pho
    Drive-through Express Phuk
    Phee Phy Pho Phuk
    Sorry, that is totally sophomoric humor, but I couldn’t resist.

  11. Sorry, Buzzie, but my restaurant will be called “Phuk It.”

    Sylvie: I would recommend “Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game.” It’s what I used to guide my first forays into butchery…God I love the term, “butchery”…

    Ryan: If you come to California, I would gladly make you a bowl or two.

  12. So I finally get a chance to catch up on all the food blogs I follow, and this is the first article? Hank, that’s not fair to everyone else. You’ve set the bar too high again.

    I’d pay good money for a bowl of phuk!

  13. That’s a good idea. Duck broth is too strong for many soup, but this should work very well.

    On a different (but related subject), say one wants to butcher their own deer instead of taking it to the processor… any book you may recommend to try to acquire some knowledge ahead of time of what to do and not to do?


  14. Duck is a much more logical choice than turkey, since Asians typically don’t eat turkey. 🙂

    Thanks for the nod, Hank. This looks absolutely delicious.