Best pho Hanoi, Vietnam

posted on: Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Pho ga in Hanoi: chicken noodle soup, lime and chillies

Proudly Team Pho Ga

Fast food: all the elements ready to go

Motorbikes and the Hoan Kiem lake in Hanoi

There are some things in life where you can only be on one side. You either like milo or cocoa, Myer or David Jones, Federer or Nadal, the Crips or the Bloods. And so it is with pho: you're either Team Pho Bo (Beef Pho) or Team Pho Ga (Chicken Pho). Me? I'm staunchly in the Ga camp.

Many people know of pho (pronounced more like fur in Hanoi) before going to Vietnam, but I can guarantee that it tastes far better in Hanoi, its birthplace. Much like how a pint of Guinness tastes far better in Ireland than anywhere else. There are many good places, but my ultimate Hanoi pick is a pho ga only place.

A tiny hole in the wall at 42 Quan Thanh Street, just above the Old Quarter, this is the spot for a steaming hot, comforting bowl. A good stock is the absolute bedrock of amazing pho, and at this spot the base stock is added to each day creating a rich taste and sense of history with every single serving. The roasted aniseed and cardamom spices infuse the clear broth and the scallions, spring onion and chilli on top give it a nice crunch. If you're ever feeling sick, I swear this is medicinal.

I do need to make a disclaimer though. I once saw a French couple sit patiently waiting to be served here for over 15 minutes until I explained the system. As I mentioned in Street Food Rulesyou must call out for service or suffer hungrily. This is a place where you will need to call out em oi! But ultimately, I think that makes it more fun.

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