Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, a combination of broth, rice noodles, a few herbs, and meat. As one of prominent street foods in Vietnam, Pho is a specialty some restaurant chains around the world. It is primarily served with beef or chicken. Pho in Hanoi and Pho in Saigon have different styles of broth, and choice of herbs. Pho in Hanoi is more famous than that in other place. No one knows when Pho Hanoi appeared. It is said that the old in Hanoi had a chance to acknowledge about this traditional food of Vietnam in their life, and even through literature. Perhaps, Pho is a dish favored most by writers in their works. Simply, it is because Pho is not just a delicious and nutritious traditional food, but also contains the sophisticated culture of cuisine in Hanoi.
Walking around narrow streets and alleys, I was so surprised that Hanoi seems to be a place of the most Pho restaurants in Vietnam from luxury to ordinary ones. The Hanoian eat Pho from dawn to dusk, even until midnight. Once when walking along Bat Dan Street in a fresh morning, incidentally, I smelt a beautiful scent of something like food with herbs and other ingredients immersing in cool air. Following this scent, I stopped in front of a simple and old restaurant at No. 49 with a small billboard hung above the main door. Here, I had a chance to discover more about the culture of Hanoi cuisine.
Pho Restaurant in 49 Bat Dan Street is one of the most famous Pho restaurants in Hanoi. Interestingly, to enjoy a delicious bowl of Pho, I had to queue and wait for about 30 minutes because the restaurant is quite small and many other people want to have a bowl like me. When talking about queuing, it is thought that people just queue to buy vegetables, meat in the past. However, it is completely different in this restaurant. Making line to enjoy a delicious bowl of Pho creates a sense of calm in every customer, but me; I was so eager to taste this world-famous dish. It is funny that others were reading newspapers while waiting for their turns.
After waiting time, I entered the restaurant, ordered a bowl of Pho Bo (rice noodle with beef), and paid for it, which is the rule of this restaurant. Inside of restaurant, it is quite small with some old rustic wooden furniture that seems to exist for about a half century. The kitchen is located right near the entrance. There is a man who might be the owner of this restaurant cutting up meat into thin slices. These slices of meat look so attractive, along with scents of herbs, which woke up all my senses.
After all, my “Pho Soup” came. A friendly man brought a bowl of Pho to me. Seemingly, he knew I came here for the first time, so he politely signaled to me to have a good appetite. I was really fascinated by the wonderful flavor of broth and scent of beef, a few herbs, and long thin white linguine-shaped rice noodle, especially, delicious slices of beef surpassed other things in that bowl. All make a perfect Pho Hanoi. That is the reason why I left nothing in that bowl after finishing. With only 40,000 VND a reasonable price, you have a chance to enjoy a tasty, nutritious dish in Hanoi.
In Hanoi, though there are numerous restaurants with various kinds of Pho, but traditional Pho might remains its “throne”. The wonderful flavor of Pho in combination with yummy and crispy fried breadsticks called Quay (Youtiao) will never fade in my mind. That was an amazing experience on discovering Vietnamese cuisine! Coming to Hanoi and enjoying Pho will be unforgettable memories in lifetime.