Phở was born in Northern Vietnam during the mid-1880s. The dish was heavily influenced by both Chinese and French cooking. Rice noodle and spices were imported from China; the French popularized the eating of red meat. In fact, it is believed that "phở" is derived from "pot au feu" a French soup. Vietnamese cooks blended the Chinese, French and native influences to make a dish that is uniquely Vietnamese.
From North to South
The popularity of pho spread southwards starting in 1954 when the country was divided into North and South Vietnam. As the dish moved south, cooks infused it with additional ingredients until it evolved into the version that is commonly served today.