Sunday, August 5, 2012


I enjoy a bowl of  Pho and I have some very strong feelings about it, so here goes.

The best Pho is to be had in Ho Chi Minh City - no ifs or buts. I know it is a Northern dish, but in general the quality of ingredients in the South is still far superior to the North, and the Southerners are inclined to add a little pizzazz to their Pho, while the more conventional Hanoians are content to enjoy a humbe beef broth.

Chain Pho restaurants are despicable, every last one of them. The Pho to be had at such places is quite inedible, though every day scores of Westerners are herded into such places in the name of hygiene and menus and seats that won't collapse under a hefty Western bottom. None of these factors is worth the sacrifice.

For my money I like the Pho at Pho Anh on Ky Dong St, in District 3. Be warned though that the restaurant is only open in the mornings and the evenings. Delicious pho with a hint of five spice, the crowds that jam this place are testament to its deliciousness. There is also a very good and justly famous Pho shop right around the corner from my house on Le Van Sy in Tan Binh district, just before the corner of Pham Van Hai. This is a late night haunt of some repute, and you may catch movie stars, singers and gangsters there in the small hours. This is actually the best Pho in the city, but it doesn't really have a name that I can remember.

I like Pho nam (with pre-cooked beef sliced on top), though most plump for Pho tai (with thin slices of raw beef plunged into the hot broth). My nephew also likes extras like a raw egg broken into a small bowl of hot Pho broth, and a little bowl of beef balls in soup (bo vien).


  1. I agree with you on Ha Noi Vs Ho Chi Minh for Phở, but perhaps I am biased with my wifes family all coming from Ho Chi Minh and Mekong area.

    Whenever I eat Phở it has to have alot of Rau Quế (Thai Basil) Ngò Gai (Sawtooth Coriander) and other Asian style mints. In the north they don't do it that way, with very few if any Rau.

    Also agree with you on the Phở chains (Phở 24, Phở 2000, etc) I will also add Phở Hòa Pasteur to that list, you can get much better Phở in some of the most unlikely places for instance one of my fave places for Phở is actually in my wife's home town of Vinh Long. Its always packed full of customers and its a fraction of the cost of the big chains.

    If you are ever in Vinh Long the name of the restaurant is Pho 91, which if my memory seves me correctly its on 2 Tháng 9, just off Trưng Nữ Vương, Vinh Long.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation!

    And yes - I too have found that Vinh Long is full of delicious food.

    But I fear that some Hanoi lovers are going to give me a hard time for making this assertion re. pho :-)


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