Pho soup in Vietnam

Pho soup is a traditional dish of Vietnam, which can also be regarded as one of the typical dishes of the cuisine of Vietnam. The Pho soup consists mainly of fresh rice noodles, the broth with beef or chicken of thin slices. Spices of Pho soup include: cardamom, anise, cinnamon, pepper, lemon juice, fish sauce or Nuoc Mam, chili, garlic, vinegar...

Pho soup in Vietnam

In general, Pho soup is usually taken in the morning as the breakfast. But in the big cities, you can take the Pho soup throughout the day. In the southern provinces of Vietnam, we eat Pho soup with fragrant herbs like onion, cilantro, basil ... But in the north, these herbs are often not taken except in the high mountains. In general, there are only two kinds of Pho soup: Phở bò or Pho soup with Beef and Phở gà or Pho soup with chicken. There is also Pho soup with duck, Pho soup with pork ... but rare such as Pho soup with duck in Cao Bang, Lang Son provinces…in the north mountains of the country.

Pho soup – Origin and history: 

Some theories believe that the Pho soup is the origin of Nam Dinh, a city in the heart of the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam. But Hanoi is the place where the Pho soup becomes a soul of Vietnamese cuisine.

But some others believe that the Pho soup is a traditional dish of Hanoi that was created by crossing of Vietnamese – French Culture in the early 20th century. But there is hypothesis believing that the Pho soup is the origin of Chinese cuisine.

But it is certain that the Pho soup is the origin of the north of Vietnam before being widespread in the center and south. Some cookers believe that the Pho soup is derived from the preparation of the French stew (pot-au-feu). The presence of the French in Vietnam could strengthen this argument.

The arrival of Vietnamese people abroad as political refugees or labor after the Vietnam War made the Pho soup known in many parts of the world, especially in Western countries. Now, there are many restaurants of Pho soup in the United States, France, Australia, Canada, Russia, and Poland…

Today, Pho soup has different methods of preparation and flavors. Even in Vietnam, there are: Phở Bac (Pho soup of the North), Phở Hue (in the center) and Phở Sài gòn (in the south). Usually, the Pho soup is saltier in the north while the Pho soup in the south is sweeter and has vegetables.

New evolutions: 

In addition to a bowl of traditional Pho soup consisting of: broth, noodles, thin slices of beef, coriander, chives ... today there are, Phở gà (Pho soup with chicken) Phở Cuốn (Noodles roll), Phở Xào (fried noodles), vegetarian noodles, instant noodles…

In Hanoi now, we eat Pho soup with donuts. In the plateau of Vietnam, there is Phở hai tô (A bowl for noodles and a bowl for the broth) ... In Lang Son in northern mountains, there is Phở vịt quay or the Pho soup with roast duck ... In particular, some rich peoples in Hanoi can find the Pho soup with Kobe beef that costs very expensive…

In the Pho soup, its broth decides the quality: 

In the Pho soup, steps to prepare the broth or nước dùng in Vietnamese language are the most important. The traditional broth of the Pho soup is made from bovine bone with some spices: Cinnamon, anise, ginger, cardamom, coriander, grilled shallots ... But the recipe is often a mystery that is not easily applied. The good Pho soup’s broth largely depends on the experience and expertise of each cooker but often each cooker woman. Theoretically, the broth is prepared as follows:

The bones must be well washed. We shave meat hooked to the bone before putting in pot with cold water for cooking. We do not use the first broth because of the odor of beef bone.

The water, the ginger and the grilled onion are also added. We light the big fire to boil water quickly but when the water is boiled, we have to reduce the heat and begin removing the foam constantly so that the broth is clear. We keep the light fire for that the tonic materials in bones gently soak in the broth by adding spices. However, the recipe for broth of the Pho soup is kept well but secretly.

Pho soup in Hanoi: 

Pho soup in Vietnam

The writer Thach Lam wrote:

"The Pho soup is a typical dish in Hanoi. Although it exists everywhere but only in Hanoi, Pho soup is the most delicious.  A good Pho soup has to be classic with beef, good and clear broth, firm noodles but not hard, pepper, lemon with onion, fresh herbs ... In the 1940s, the Pho soup was very popular in Hanoi. We ate throughout the day. Everybody appreciates: The officials, workers, the rich, the poor ...’

Several restaurants of Pho soup in Hanoi have the history of three generations as Pho Phu Xuan in the Hang Da market, Pho Nam Bac in Hai Ba Trung Street, Pho Ga or Pho soup with chicken of Nam Ngu, Pho Thin, Pho Ly Quoc Su, Pho Bat Dan...

In addition to the restaurants, in the past, in Hanoi, there were hawkers serving Pho soup or Phở Gánh. They carried two baskets, one for bowls, noodles, spoons ... and the other for the pot on a charcoal oven. Before 1980, they were in the streets shouting: Ai Phở đây or Pho soup is here which was an aspect of the culinary culture of Hanoi. Currently, the itinerant Pho soup disappeared with changes in society.

Pho soup with beef in Nam Dinh: 

Nam Dinh is a city in the center of the Red River Delta in the north, near Halong Bay on Land. The Pho soup of Nam Dinh is a little different: noodles are soft and thin. We take the knife to tap the beef slices to crush before dipping it quickly in the broth for that the meat is cooked but keeps its quality.

The Pho soup is Nam Dinh is the origin of Cồ family but no longer guard the authenticity after coming to other provinces. In the 50s, the Nam Dinh Pho soup came to Hanoi. Now, Phở Nam Đinh spread throughout from the north to south and quickly becomes a well known dish in Vietnamese gastronomic culture.

Pho Soup in the south: 

The Pho soup in the south or known as Phở Sài Gòn is like the Pho soup in the north but has some different elements: The broth is slightly sweet, not clear and a little fat. We also eat it with lemon juice, pepper, coriander ... but also with still fragrant fresh herbs: basil, minced onion (it can be pickled with vinegar), bean sprouts (raw or soaked quickly in the boiling water)…

Fragrant herbs are required for the Pho soup in the south of Vietnam. We put herbs on the table, in a basket or plate. The quantity of herbs depends on each guest.

There are the famous restaurants of Pho soup in Ho Chi Minh City or the ancient Saigon: Pho Cong Ly, Pho Tau Bay, Pho Ba Dau, Pho Pasteur, Pho Hien Vuong, Pho 24, Pho 5 stars or Nam Sao, Pho Quyen, Pho 2000, Pho Hoa...

Pho soup in the life of the Vietnamese people: 

In Vietnam, Pho soup is like a spiritual rite. The writer Nguyen Tuan said: The Pho soup, a popular dish, which can be found in all corners of Vietnam, in all the streets of Hanoi ... Pho soup is associated with the daily life of the Vietnamese people without being able to explain the reason.

Mr. Tran Van Hung was standing in line, trembling in front of the restaurant of Pho Thin in Hanoi who recently told to AFP: "I eat Pho soup here for over 20 years. The servers are unpleasant here but I 'm used to see it. That does not interest me.’’ The 39 year old man added: '' Pho soup here is associated with my life since I was born ''

The Pho soup is always appreciated by both the rich and the poor peoples. Pham Anh Tuyet, the artist woman - cooker said: "The Pho soup is a pure and typical dish of Vietnamese cuisine."