Pho Bo Ha Noi (Hanoi Beef Noodle Soup) is one of the most famous and delicious dishes of Vietnamese cuisine. It is a hearty and comforting soup that consists of rice noodles, thinly sliced beef, and a rich broth flavored with spices and herbs. Pho Bo Ha Noi is not only a dish, but also a culture and a tradition of the capital city of Vietnam. In this blog post, we will introduce you to some of the secrets and tips on how to enjoy Pho Bo Ha Noi like a local.
What Makes Pho Bo Ha Noi Special?
- The broth: The broth is the soul of Pho Bo Ha Noi. It is made from beef bones, onion, ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, cardamom, and other spices. The bones are simmered for hours to extract the flavor and the gelatin. The broth is clear and sweet, without any added sugar or MSG. The spices are subtle and balanced, not overpowering or too aromatic.
- The noodles: The noodles are fresh and soft, made from rice flour and water. They are thin and flat, not too thick or too thin. They are cooked al dente, not mushy or sticky. They are rinsed with cold water before serving to prevent them from clumping together.
- The beef: The beef is tender and lean, sliced paper-thin and cooked briefly in the hot broth. The beef can be rare (tai), medium (chin), or well-done (gau). Some people also like to add other parts of the beef, such as tendon (gan), tripe (sach), or meatballs (bo vien).
- The herbs: The herbs are fresh and fragrant, adding a touch of green and aroma to the dish. The most common herbs are cilantro (ngo), green onion (hanh la), basil (hung que), mint (hung lui), and sawtooth herb (ngo gai). Some people also like to add bean sprouts (gia) for crunchiness.
How to Eat Pho Bo Ha Noi Like a Local?
Pho Bo Ha Noi is usually eaten for breakfast or lunch, but it can also be enjoyed anytime of the day. Here are some tips on how to eat Pho Bo Ha Noi like a local:
- Choose your favorite type of beef: You can order your preferred doneness and cut of beef according to your taste. For example, you can say “pho tai chin” for rare and medium beef, or “pho bo vien” for meatballs.
- Customize your bowl: You can add more herbs, bean sprouts, lime juice, chili sauce, hoisin sauce, vinegar, or fish sauce to your bowl according to your preference. However, don’t add too much sauce or condiments that may overpower the original flavor of the broth.
- Use chopsticks and a spoon: You can use chopsticks to pick up the noodles and the beef, and a spoon to sip the broth. You can also dip the beef into the hoisin sauce or the chili sauce for extra flavor.
- Slurp and enjoy: Don’t be shy to slurp your noodles and broth loudly. It is a sign of appreciation and enjoyment. You can also make some noises such as “mmm” or “ahh” to express your satisfaction.
Where to Find the Best Pho Bo Ha Noi?
Pho Bo Ha Noi can be found in many places in Hanoi, from street stalls to restaurants. However, some of the most famous and popular places are:
- Pho Bat Dan: This is one of the oldest and most authentic pho shops in Hanoi. It is located at 49 Bat Dan Street, Hoan Kiem District. It opens from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The price ranges from 40,000 to 65,000 VND per bowl.
- Pho Thin Lo Duc: This is another legendary pho shop in Hanoi. It is located at 13 Lo Duc Street, Hai Ba Trung District. It opens from 6:00 am to 8:30 pm. The price ranges from 40,000 to 70,000 VND per bowl. The specialty of this shop is the stir-fried beef, which is lightly seared and seasoned before adding to the broth.
- Pho Suong Co Muoi: This is a family-run pho shop that has been operating since the 1930s. It is located at 24B Trung Yen Alley, Hoan Kiem District. It opens from 6:00 am to 10:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The price ranges from 40,000 to 60,000 VND per bowl. The broth of this shop is rich and flavorful, with a hint of sweetness.
Pho Bo Ha Noi is a delicious and nutritious dish that represents the essence of Vietnamese cuisine and culture. It is a dish that can warm your heart and soul, especially on a cold or rainy day. If you ever visit Hanoi, don’t miss the chance to try Pho Bo Ha Noi at one of the best pho shops in the city. You will not regret it.