During my short backpacking trip in Ho Chi Minh, I had the opportunity of eating one of the best Pho Bo, Vietnamese beef noodle soup in Ho Chi Minh. Pho is a common staple dish in the country with decades of history. Along the streets of Ho Chi Minh, you can easily find street vendors and restaurants selling Pho at almost every street corner.
What makes a good Pho Bo?
The dish may seem easy to make to some. I mean, it’s pretty difficult to overcook the flat rice noodles used to make Pho Bo unless you intentionally leave it in a pot of boiling water for a very long period of time. The skill in making an awesome Pho Bo, is in the broth and the beef.
The broth has to be clear and flavourful. Made by simmering beef bones, onion, ginger and many other spices over long hours on a small fire, the chef then removes impurities from the broth after all the essence and flavour has been extracted from the ingredients.
The beef must be fresh and clean and lightly cooked to medium rare. The cooking method is somewhat like shabu shabu where the inside of the beef is slightly pinkish to ensure the tenderness of the beef.
Where can you find the best Pho Bo in Ho Chi Minh?
The best Pho Bo in Ho Chi Minh is at 120/39 Tran Hung Dao Street, Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. The restaurant has no name, and is hidden in the alleys away from the crowd. But not to worry, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find this elusive restaurant.
First, make your way to 113 Bui Vien Street. There is a small sign above the alley that reads ‘Chua Phuoc Hau’ (circled in red). This is the entrance into the maze of alleys.
Walk into the alley and turn right (follow the red arrow). Watch out for motorbikes moving through the alley.
Once you have made the right turn, walk straight down to the end of the alley and turn left (follow the red arrow).
After the left turn, make your way down the alley and turn right again (follow the red arrow again).
Walk straight down the alley and make a final turn to the left (continue following the red arrow).
Around 20 meters ahead, is where you can get the best Pho Bo in Ho Chi Minh (circled in red).
The Pho Bo restaurant is owned by the lady (on the left). Her daughter (on the right) works in a Taiwanese bank in Ho Chi Minh. She is fluent in both English and Chinese so if customers visit the restaurant and have problem ordering, she would occasionally help out.
I must warn you, while this is not the cheapest Pho Bo in town, this restaurant offers the most value-for-money Pho Bo for sure. I ordered the Pho Bo (mixed beef version) for 40,000 VND and take a look at how much beef is in this bowl. The broth is clear and flavourful and all the different beef parts are very tender, especially the beef tendons. Add a small scoop of the homemade chilli to get a spicy kick. Be warned that the chilli is very spicy.
I visited the restaurant with some of my dorm mates in the hostel and they all love the Pho Bo.
Though this was my first visit to Ho Chi Minh, I’m very sure I will visit this Pho Bo restaurant every time I return to Ho Chi Minh.
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