We ordered-in Pho last night, and I got mine with "medium-rare beef".

When it arrived however, the meat looked raw (unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture of it). It was wrapped in plastic wrap, balled up into a clump (it actually looked like brain), and placed on top of the sprouts and noodles (the soup base was separate). When I unwrapped it, it turned out to be a couple extremely thinly-cut slices lumped together.

Now, I'm used to eating near-raw beef (I have my steaks cooked blue-rare when possible), but this still looked a tad slimy. I couldn't eat it as-is.

I didn't want to waste it though, so I heated up a pan with some canola oil and fried the beef and veggies until I was satisfied that it was cooked.

Are there any safety concerns in doing this? I realized after that if it was indeed raw, the transport time might have been long enough for toxins to be produced that wouldn't have been destroyed when I cooked it.

Is that really a concern? Is there anything else I should have been aware of? If this was unsafe, is there anything I could have done to make it safe to eat?

1 Answer 1


It is common, when preparing pho, to add raw, thinly sliced beef to the piping hot broth. That way the broth essentially cooks the beef. So what you received is not surprising. It is impossible to know, from what you have written, if there are safety concerns. IF the beef was handled correctly at the restaurant, and IF you received and cooked the beef within 2 hours of it being in the "danger zone" (if it was in the danger zone...impossible to know without understanding how it was transported), then there is not a safety concern.

  • So the broth should have been hot enough to cook the meat, even taking into consideration the travel time? I've done hot pot before which uses a similar idea. That uses an actively heated pot though. Thanks, I don't get Pho often. Jul 13, 2019 at 19:15
  • ...don't know what kind of travel time we are talking about, but typically pho is ladled into serving bowls, various raw ingredients are added (including thinly sliced beef), and it is served. You would, of course, have to adjust for potentially cooling broth due to delivery depending on how long the delivery took.
    – moscafj
    Jul 13, 2019 at 19:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.