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

  • Bo kho

    The vestiges of the French can be seen in Vietnam through its diacritic-laden written language, regal colonial buildings and cooking. While most point to pho or banh mi as...

  • Banh Beo (Bloating Fern-shaped cake)

    Referring to Hue , people think about Huong river, Ngu Binh mountain or historical architects of palaces and temples and Hue traditional food. Banh Beo Hue is quite...

  • Halong Prawn

    Halong is not only proud for being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, but also one of the most famous destinations for high quality seafood. Among all, the most...

  • Top 10 Street Drinks in Hanoi

    Hanoi is not only famous for street foods but also for cool and healthy street drinks.

  • Khang Gai Dried Meat in Sapa

    The meat of horses, pigs are usually hung up by the H’Mong. These meat will be chopped into pieces about 2-3 kilograms and hung up in order to store. When eating meat,...

  • Cao lau - the essence of Hoi An food

    The reason why a specialty in Hoi An named Cao Lau is interesting: Hoi An was used to be an international ports and there were many merchants working in the town. They...

  • Pau Play Day Cake

    Round sticky rice cake is made from glutinous rice. Glutinous rice is soaked in water about 2 hours and then pours it into the pot. After that, sticky rice will be put into...

  • Bun rieu

    Bun rieu is one of the lesser-known noodle soups in Vietnamese cuisine, perhaps due to its rather unappealing hodge-podge, thrown-together appearance. However, each part of...

  • Bun thit nuong

    At first glance, a bowl of bun thit nuong can look a bit manic. A sprinkling of garnishes along with grilled meat are placed on top of a bed of noodles with some greens poking...

  • Bo bia

    Bo bia is one of those street snacks that tends to be overlooked by the average travelling street muncher. Maybe it’s due to its similarity in appearance to goi cuon,...

Booking with confidence

1
Best Value
Customer's satisfaction is the biggest goal and inspiration in our career. We always try our best to deliver as much pleasure as possible to every tourist...
2
Best Price Guarantee
At Viet Leading Travel™, We are confident to ensure the best and cannot-be-better price for you. Please take a look at our Best Price Guarantee policy
3
Best Local Support
We are local people, We are always here to support you 24/7 - ready to listen and arrange everything as your desire. Surely, you will feel satisfactory!
4
Certificate of Excellence 2015
We are proud to be 2015 winner and awarded the Certificate of Excellence 2015 by Tripadvisor

Join to get special offers & great promotions

Enter your email to quickly get Great Promotion Code, Special offers, Hot deals, and Huge discounts. Don't miss out!
“Great service from start to finish”
" With initial contact to help touring remote aspects in Northern Vietnam, Viet Leading Travel is the most professional, skilled and personable. The driver has been very experienced together..."
Susan , Australia
“Viet Leading Travel is the very best!”
" Viet Leading Travel is the most effective travel company we now have ever used within a lifetime of holiday. From the start we knew people were in skilled hands. The staff caused us regularly to..."
BobAbroad , Austria
“Fun In Vietnam, WOW!”
" The guides were the highlight in the trip, and this is saying something! This trip has been so well thought and perfectly adjusted to accommodate our holiday together with group. It was some sort..."
David , Armenia