Monday, September 10, 2018

YummY! - My Best Pho In Vietnam

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My Best Pho In Vietnam

South Vietnam- July 2018
There's Phở and there's phở. There's just so many varieties of these renown noodles in Vietnam and on a cycling tour of the Mekong Delta, we did get to try many of the different types. Most of these we had at small road side shops or even at the market stalls. A few we had a more established restaurants. So here's my pick of the best that we had:

Situated at the the Phạm Ngũ Lão Backpacker's district of Ho Chi Minh is this humble coffee shop called Pho Quynh Restaurant which serves one of the best Pho Bo (Beef Pho) in the city. I like it as it's served in a clear soup unlike many others that have murky soup. Despite the soup being clear, the strong beef flavour and aroma are there - pure and untainted by other flavours.

The beef comes in two cuts: a strip-lion cut with a strip of fat that had pre-cooked to make it more tender, And tenderloin thin slice that were added in just into the steaming hot soup just before the noodles are served, thus ensuring their freshness and juiciness. On request, one and add in beef balls which were tasty with a bouncy bite. Garnishing were cuts of green spring onions which I requested for more as I love their freshness and crunchy bite.

Free add-ons that came were semi-pickled whole garlic, add this in to give a bit of tanginess. Then there is the chili fried in oil....

Add the chili in for that extra spicy oomph!
Oh yah, they also serve beef tendons with the phở; these had been cooked long enough to ensure that they were soft and easily chewy.

Not up for beef, they have Chicken Pho served with good chicken soup. Like the beef version, these are served a plate of salad (basil leaf, etc.) and also a small plate of lightly boiled mung bean sprouts.

Another of our buddy had this "dry" version flat noodles phở that came with deep fried shallots, a generous portion of minced pork and lots of crunchy lard bits. !YummY!

Get these at:
Pho Quynh Restaurant
Address: 323 Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam.
Tel: +84 28 3836 8515
Hours: Opens 24 hrs.
GPS: 10.76746, 106.69062.


Up in Saigon Airport are a couple outlets of Big Bowl; a restaurant that as it name suggests, serves really super huge bowls of phở. What make this one different was that it was cooked with the famed Wagyu beef.

The soup stock is clear, beefy tasty but one can't really tell the difference of it from other good beef soup. The kicker were the slices of Wagyu, cooked just nicely gone so that they had the tenderness and flavour expected of Wagyu.
Get these at:
Saigon International Airport, Trung Luong Expy, Phường 2, Tân Bình, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam.
GPS: 10.81593, 106.66416.

Bún riêu Bun rieu (Spicy Pho)

This Thai Binh Market spicy Bún riêu noodles that came looking red hot had me recalling the renown White Curry Mee of Penang. It came with the familiar cubes of coagulated pig's blood but without coconut milk in the soup. But to make up for it, the soup has a base tomato flavour and comes with cuts of fish cake, tofu.... and chunky pieces of roast pork!

Like most phở, it comes with a bowl of Vietnamese salad and additional slices of lime for those who want it more sour.

A pot of tasty spicy phở soup, with the tomatoes in a separate section.

For those who don't want the soup, there is also the "dry" version called Bún thịt nướng. One can actually select the ingredients to go with; the above had grille pork and deep-fried spring rolls with spring onions and pounded ground nuts as garnishing.

While at the market, look out for these custard cream caramel called Càphê Kem Flan that are served with the famed Vietnamese iced coffee.

Get these at:
Thai Binh Market
Address: Phạm Ngũ Lão, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam.
Tel: +84 28 3839 4027
Hours: 5am-6pm
GPS: 10.76671, 106.68888.
(Click here for Google Map View)

Bún bò Huế

One of the most remarkable phở is Bún bò Huế, a recipe that comes from Hue in Central VietnamHue was the capital of Nguyễn Dynasty emperors from 1802 to 1945, and capital of the protectorate of Annam. It was feudal dynasty that dominated much of Southern Vietnam from the 17th to the 19th century. Associated with the cooking style of the former royal court, this dish is greatly admired for its balance of spicy, sour, salty and umami flavors.
Out of Hue, this dish is hard to find and we were lucky that on our cycling approach into My Tho that by chance we stopped at Nghĩa, a shop that serves this remarkable dish. At Nghĩa, one can choose other major ingredients to one's liking; the above was one with fish cake and pig trotters.

This one comes with beef slice, two varieties of fish cake. The soup is spicy but not overly, sweet with a strong taste of lemon grass.

Bún bò Huế uses thicker round white rice noodles (something like the noodles used in Penang Laksa, except it is not springy) with soup that is more spicy than the regular phở.

Other than the generous amount of spring onions added to the soup, every serving comes with a plate of Vietnamese salad, but here it is served with cuts from the stem of banana leafs, interesting yah?

A close up look at the banana stem salad, which was cut across the stem revealing its nice pattern. It was crunchy with a bit of tangy flavour.

Bún bò Huế must be a favourite at Nghĩa, these happy ladies with large basins of cut salad ready for serving.

Nghĩa wall menu and pricing.

Get these at:
Address: 184 Ấp Bắc, Phường 5, Thành phố Mỹ Tho, Tiền Giang, Vietnam.
GPS: 10.3667, 106.35568.
(Click here for Google Map View)

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