Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pho Bo @ Pho Gia Truyen, Hanoi

They say if there is a large crowd, the food there must be very delicious.  For Pho Gia Truyen @ Bat Dan Street, Hanoi, this is definitely the case.  Popular among both locals and tourists, this is one pho place you must not miss if you are in the Old Quarters.

Pho, a popular Vietnamese breakfast, is thin rice noodles served in clear beef broth, with thin cuts of beef.

Pho in different regions are prepared differently - the taste and presentation is heavily influenced by the richness of the local agricultural and economy.  The southern pho is usually more complex as more ingredients are used while the northern pho, on the other hand, uses less ingredients and is more simple, served without beansprouts and herbs.

Here at Pho Gia Truyen, the northern-style pho is sold.  There are three types of pho to choose from:
  1. Tai Nam:  Rare flank steak (45,000 VND)
  2. Tai:  Rare steak  (40,000 VND)
  3. Chin:  Well-done brisket (35,000 VND)
For the sake of lowering the chances of food poisoning (that means rare is out of the question), we opt for the pho chin.

The soup was "Wow!" - fantastic.  Do not be fool by the clearness of the soup because it is packed with a lot of flavours and spices, making it very fragrant and sweet.  Imagine how many beef bones they have used in making this flavourful broth.  It was so wholesome so much so that you will feel as though the adrenaline is pumping fast into your bloodstream.  No wonder even the Vietnamese are willing to queue up for a bowl of pho here.

One thing I like about their soup is that it does not have the strong beefy smell, that sometimes can be a little unpleasant.  It was so good that I finished every single drop of it.  In a way, it did tasted like keoy teow soup, except that the flavour is more intense and less oily.

The beef brisket, which has been thinly sliced, is very tender.  Plus, they were very generous with it.  Even towards the end, there are still a lot of beef in my bowl.  On top of that, the thin noodles are silky and not oily at all.

I did notice many people adding vinegar and hot chilli sauce.  Not sure what it tasted like, so didn't have the courage to add in any.

They also have another side dish that accompany this delicious street food, which is dau chao quay or fried bread stick that you can dip into the soup, just like how we do in bak kut teh.  We didn't have this unfortunately, as we initially didn't know what it is called in Vietnamese.  Pity.

Now, Pho Gia Truyen is a self-serve style eatery.  You need to queue up, order, pay and then collect your noodles before proceeding to the tables (if you are really lucky enough to find one).  The queue can be a little long, but the wait is definitely worth it.

Majority of the seatings are tiny wooden stools by the side-walk.  If you're very lucky, you may get a normal table inside the shop.  Otherwise, you may have to stand while eating.
As for us, KS was in charge of ordering, while I "hunt" around for seats.  Sitting on tiny stools by the side-walk with lots of used tissues strewn on the floor below the tables, was not so bad after all.  Like they say, be like a local and enjoy the experience.

Pho Gia Truyen
49, Bat Dan Street
Old Quarters

Open in morning and night

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