Pho in Hanoi

Pho in Hanoi scene can be overwhelming with its mix of smells and tastes but it’s well worth exploring since it’s one of the freshest, healthiest and most flavorful cuisines in the world. Pho has become the favorite dish for breakfast and dinner in Hanoi, and throughout Vietnam. 


 

The origins of pho, the beloved noodle soup of Vietnam, are thought to coincide with the French colonial period, which began in the late 1800s. Pho—Vietnam’s unofficial national dish—might look like a run-of-the-mill noodle soup. But the flavors and the history are as complex as the country itself.

Many Vietnamese culinary experts believe pho is a unique adaptation of “pot au feu” (“pot in the fire”), introduced during the French colonial period in the late 1800s.

Today in Vietnam, everyone eats pho from sunup to sundown. Neighborhood food stalls, pushcarts, restaurants, and fancy bistros serve up steaming bowls to workers, professionals, schoolchildren, and seniors alike.

“Pho is like the soul of our people. It is our heritage,” says Nguyen Thanh Van, the executive sous chef at the Hanoi Metropole Hotel. “From the moment our feet first touch the earth, our parents take us, with the whole family, to a pho shop. And even when we’re sick, old, and bedridden, we will be served steaming pho by our [loved ones].”

“When we travel abroad, we miss our pho like we miss a person,” she adds.

The key ingredients are simple: flat rice noodles in a rich beef or chicken stock. But there is nothing simple about creating the complex flavors of the perfect broth.

The broth must be clear for both pho bo (with beef) and pho ga (with chicken).

For pho bo broth, cartilaginous, marrow-rich beef bones are left to simmer in a cloth bag for at least eight hours. The foam and grease are discarded. For pho ga, the chicken carcass is simmered for about three hours.

 

Fresh ginger and onions are roasted over an open flame before they are added to flavor the broth. A variety of other spices may become part of the mix, including star anise, coriander, fennel, cardamom, and a dash of fish sauce.

Pho is often accompanied by sliced lime, fresh red chilies, Thai basil, bean sprouts, and chili sauce. These condiments are served on the side so that seasoning is an individual choice.

Pho noodles must be made of the highest quality fragrant rice: a little sticky and very white in color. Fresh noodles are painstakingly produced in home workshops and have a slightly sour taste.

Here are 5 places to taste or learn about pho in Hanoi:
 


1. Pho Thin

This eatery, located alongside peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake, right in the heart of Hanoi Old Quarter, defines “hole in the wall” with its dark dining room, stainless-steel tabletops and wooden benches. But the broth is redolent of smoky ginger and the noodles absorb its flavor without becoming mushy. Opened in 1949, the shop is now run by the founder’s eldest son, who closely guards the family recipe.

2. Pho Ly Quoc Su
 
Located at 10 Ly Quoc Su in the Old Town, Pho #10 is crowded with families, couples, and singles, and is consistently cited as the place to find cheap, fresh pho. Inside the garish orange façade are bubbling vats of aromatic stock and cold beers to welcome foodies.  

3. 49 Bat Dan Street

Recommended by locals as the “best beef pho” in Hanoi, expect a long line and sit on a squat child-size plastic stool on the street. This is the kind of pho a Vietnamese grandmother would take all day to prepare.

4. Noodle Village tours

Located 12 miles south of Hanoi, Cu Da Village makes the white and yellow noodles used in many noodle dishes and in fried spring rolls. A private guide can arrange a tour of small home-based rice-noodle workshops to see families churning out handmade pho noodles.

5. Pho Gia Truyen

Locals form a long queue every morning at Pho Gia Truyen, the most famous place in Hanoi Old Quarter for a delicious bowl of Pho Bo.


See more

  • Grilled fish in Ba Be Lake

    Ba Be lake is the largest fresh water in Vietnam so it provides a huge source of fresh fish. And grilled fish is the most famous dish and become a specialty of  Ba Be...

  • Egg coffee in Hanoi

    Egg coffee (cà phê trứng) is a Vietnamese beverage which is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and Robusta coffee. The drink is...

  • Banh trang nuong

    Banh trang nuong is a famous snack in Dalat that you should not miss when traveling to Dalat. The hot cake not only helps people dispel the cold in a Dalat’s night...

  • Ca Phe Sua Da

    Ca phe sua da is said in Vietnam to be a bridge between those who enjoy drinking it together. Popular belief holds that it makes things easier to say, helps people to relax...

  • Bun Cha Ca Sua (Rice vermicelli with grilled fish and jellyfish)

    Your trip to  Nha Trang  wouldn’t be complete if you don’t try this kind of noodle soup. Not many people are fan of jellyfish but this is one of...

  • Lau ca duoi (Sawfish hot pot)

    Sawfish hot pot has been considered as a famous specialty and represented for Vung Tau cuisine. Sawfish is very delicious and strange that makes tourist can’t forget if...

  • Lau mam

    Mekong Delta has many rivers and canals so it is reason why Mekong Delta has many different kind of seafood. Therefore, the famous food in Mekong delta is often related...

  • Banh Canh

    Bánh canh is one of the purest, simplest soups in Vietnamese Cuisine, with a clear, full-flavored pork stock and a wonderful mix of textures.  A bowl of...

  • Chinese Black Mushroom

    Sapa has cool temperature which is the invaluable resources that heaven has given to this place. Sapa is the place where Chinese black mushrooms hidden in the forests. Come to...

  • Bien Mai Scallop

    The unique feature of the dishes from Bien Mai Scallop is the combination between fresh coi bien mai and spices with the method of cooking that make it become very famous....

Most popular tours

Business info

  • Vietnam Local Guide

  • Address: 18th Floor, VTC Online Tower, 18 Tam Trinh Str.,Hai Ba Trung Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Email: info@vietnamguider.com
  • Phone: (+84) 0904989890
  • Hotline: (+84) 0904989890