Having originated in North Vietnam in the mid-1880s, the world famous Pho (Phở, pronounced: /fəː/) is a Vietnamese soup, typically including rice noodles, broth and beef or chicken. With the diversification of Vietnamese cuisine, numerous types of Pho have been newly developed. Here are some locally popular Pho styles in Hanoi.
Pho nuoc (Rice noodle soup)
This type of Pho is the most basic and most popular one worldwide. A typical bowl of Pho consists of flat rice noodles, broth and sliced beef or chicken, served with quay (fried dough) lime, chopped chili pepper and herbs. It might sound simple but non-identical parts (of the cow or chicken) and ways to handle the meat are the key of Pho’s success. Entering any Pho restaurant on the street, you can ask for sliced well-done steak or sliced rare steak Pho. Different parts of beef can also be eaten such as flank, fatty brisket, tendon and trip along with Pho. The recently updated beef meatball (normally with tendon) is also a favored type of Pho in the northern of Vietnam. Additionally, people also love to have bolied egg, placed in the broth, in their bowl of Pho to increase the texture of this soup. You can find Rice noodle soup in any corner of Vietnam, from the North to the South.
Pho cuon (Rice noodle roll)
Vietnamese people like to have their food rolled just like spring rolls. Pho is not an exception. Pho cuon is a popular street food, especially among Vietnamese youngsters. Flat noodles are remained uncut as sheets of steamed rice, wrapped with lettuce, stir-fried beef and herbs. You can enjoy rice noodle by dipping the roll into light fish sauce with thin sliced papaya.
Pho chien ron (Crispy fried noodles)
The rice noodles are deep-fried until it becomes crunchy and golden brown in color. Beef is stir-fried with bok choy and onions to create a special sauce to be put on the top of fried Pho. Another version of this dish includes fried rice noodles with eggs (Pho chien trung). With crispy fried noodles, aa few bottles of beer, and chit chatting with your friends, your weekend is completed!
Pho chien phong (Inflated fried rice noodles or rice noodle pillows)
Similar to Pho chien ron, this type of rice noodles is also deep-fried. However, the noodles here are cut into small square pieces and made into layers to inflate the rice noodles after frying. Together with topping sauce, this dish is served with light fish sauce and herbs. Immerse yourself with the crispy noodle pillows with two types of sauce to enjoy this tasty dish.
Pho xao (Stir-fried rice noodles)
Due to its easy way of cooking, this is the most popular homemade rice noodles dish in Vietnamese families. Noodles are simply stir-fried with bok choy and beef in a huge pan. After a few minutes, Pho xao is ready for the whole family. You can also try this dish at any Pho restaurant along the street.
A part from these types of Pho, there are some other Pho styles such as Pho tai lan (the beef is stir- fried before putting the broth), Pho chua (sour – rice noodles, a mixture of Pho, char siu meat and sour sauce, which originated from the South) and Pho tron (mixed rice noodles without broth). The variance of Pho in Vietnam is infinite; it will take you days and days to fully enjoy this world famous dish.
By Pham Hong Anh, ASEAN Correspondent from Vietnam