if someone asks you to pick up a famous food of your country to show friends around the world, what is on your list?
For us "PHO" is always the first choice.
What is Pho and why is Pho, we will have the answer right today.
"PHO" WHERE TO HEAD IN HANOI FOR VIETNAM'S BEST KNOWN BROTH
AMBER ( travel expert ) after 4 weeks of discovering Vietnam, she will share with us a story about her favorite food, and "PHO" is her first choice
"Dating back to 10 years ago,I first discovered Pho on a wet, steamy summer’s day in Manchester’s miniscule Vietnam town. I’d been having a bad morning and the warming bowl of the simple broth had the same soothing effect as that universal staple of mum’s medicine kits: chicken soup."
Pho is a quintessential Vietnamese dish, and alongside Banh Mi, has managed to conquer the western world - but while Pho can be found back home, nothing beats sampling the authentic dish in its place of origin. While some prefer the thicker, stronger flavors of ramen, the light simplicity of Pho is something to be savored and makes it a perfect breakfast dish - if you can shake off that Western affinity for bland, grain-based mush in the mornings. Waking up with the roosters that live their lives on Hanoi’s dusty sidewalks, I had my first breakfast bowl at Pho Thin (51 Đinh Tiên Hoàng, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội; bowls 40,000đ - 60,000đ) an alleyway establishment that’s been slinging perfect bowls of noodles since 1986. This central street-food spot is right opposite Hoan Kiem lake, although there are no iconic views of the water here, as the Pho is tucked down a long, dim, and steamy covered alley. I shuffled onto a bench elbow-to-elbow with locals getting their daily fix. They do one thing at Pho Thin, and they know how to do it well, with a light broth and tender beef making this an almost refreshing morning meal. The origins and exact ingredients of Pho are contested. The basics consist of a clear beef or chicken-based broth, rice noodles, a plate of herbs, and thinly sliced meats. Pho aficionados agree that the dish developed in the north, where it still retains a simpler style than the jazzed-up soups of the more vibrantly capitalist, polished south.
Hanoi’s Pho offerings are, however, extensive and varied - and while a morning Pho, slurped as the sun comes up while the streets remain relatively quiet, is traditional, you can now get a bowl any time of day.
My second day in Hanoi meant a second bowl of Pho, this time devoured late at night after a few beers. Another street-side seller called Quán Phở Thìn(13 Lò Đúc, Ngô Thì Nhậm, Hai Bà Trưng, Hà Nội; bowls 40.000đ - 60.000đ), however, the Pho here was a completely different story. Rich and fatty with a meaty depth of flavor, this Pho has taken a turn from the traditional with the idea to pre-fry the meat in garlic, making it a more interesting bowl suitable for those who stand by their preference for ramen.
"For me, though, it’s the tried and tested way of making beef pho that wins out. Usually eaten on tiny, colorful stools that spill out onto the street, where you need to jostle for position, eating Pho can be a way to get in touch with local life."
My favorite Pho in Hanoi, the one I kept coming back to again and again, was Quán phở Gia Truyền (49 Bát Đàn, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội; bowls; 50,000đ). Like all the best Pho stalls, they don’t have a fridge or place to store their ingredients, simply buying their supplies twice a day for the morning and evening rush. You’ll likely have to queue and hustle your way onto a stool to get your hands on a bowl of this meaty broth, but it’s worth the short wait. Perfectly tender slices of beef float amongst basil and chives, with an abundance of herbs on the side for you to customize your experience. The soup is healing, like a warm hug, and for a moment you can forget the crazy traffic of Hanoi’s old quarter, the elbows poking you and knees folded under your tiny chair and focus on one moment of simple culinary bliss.