Enjoying Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

In order to attend an ASEAN meeting, I had the opportunity to visit Ho Chi Minh City in March 2010. On the sidelines of the meeting, I had the opportunity to taste the Vietnamese typical food called Pho (Vietnamese pronunciation: [f??]). It is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga). The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with basil, lime, bean sprouts, and peppers that are added to the soup by the consumer.

Of the many restaurants that serve Pho, one of the most famous pho restaurant is Pho 2000, Pho for the President. Why is called Pho 2000? The name was given to mark the visit of U.S. President Bill Clinton to Vietnam in 2000. During his visit, Clinton had time to stop and eat pho at this restaurant. Pho 2000 located right beside Ben Thanh Market. It’s a bit Western-influenced, with a fast-food feel to it, but the food is authentic and excellent. The place is obviously popular with people who work in the stores around the market.

Pho is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles (called bánh pho’) in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, meatballs, chicken leg, chicken breast, or other chicken organs. “With the lot” (made with chicken broth and all or most of the shop’s chicken and cattle offerings, including chicken hearts and livers and beef tripe and tendons) is known as ph? ??c bi?t (“specialty ph?”).

The broth is generally made by simmering beef (and sometimes chicken) bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, and spices, taking several hours to prepare. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use stick or powder), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove.

2 Responses to Enjoying Pho in Ho Chi Minh City

  1. Thanks for sharing ! I like your point of view. Keep going !

  2. Yunika Umar says:

    I was here around 2000 or 2001 and when i want to order, the waiter said – you can not eat it. i think, although it is beef but pork is used as broth,:)

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