Being in the land of pho doesn’t always guarantee you a good bowl of pho. Much like everything else, you’ve got to do your research. And voyaging in a foreign country just means a little more research effort. But don’t worry, research can be as easy as asking your hotel receptionist or a local on the streets, providing they speak your language. And if they don’t, you can always make use of hand gestures and acrobatic moves to relay your message.
This local bite establishment–one of the oldest and most popular in the city–was recommended to us by a waiter from French Bistro Au Parc where we had part 1 of our dinner. We specifically asked for a good, local place he would go for to get pho. Getting there was a challenge–most locals don’t speak English and our Vietnamese only goes as far as food names. At the end of almost every block, we would ask a person for directions. Although some of them just completely avoided us, probably knowing we were tourists, most of them directed us to keep going straight ahead. We quickly learned that what locals considered as “near” wasn’t all that near for us.
But boy was the walk worth it! I’ve had a lot of pho in my life but my taste buds never lie–this is by far the best they’ve ever come in contact with. The broth was clear, yet full of flavor. The flavor was simple, yet rich. The pho’s I’ve tasted in other parts of the world tend to be more peppery and complex (I attribute this to a considerable amount more sodium, pepper, and MSG). And even though the pho is wonderful on its own, adding to it lots of chili oil, and a little lime juice took it to a whole new level. Eaten with a side or fried cakwe, this pho experience is one you shouldn’t miss out on! My personal favorite: Pho Vo Vien (pho with meatballs–chewy from the tendon and cartilage, yum!).
Price wise, it was super cheap! One bowl of pho cost us in the range of 55,000-60,000 Dong (approximately US$2.7!). A hearty meal for 4 including side dishes and drinks cost us a total of 315,000 Dong (US$15). This pho touched us so deep that during our 5-day stay the city, we made not one, not two, but three trips to this pho paradise.
260 C Pasteur Street
Ho Chi Minh City
+84 8 3829 7943