Pho Hoa – Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Simple National Dish or Art Form?
One of the most memorable attributes of Vietnam is its gastronomic tapestry of Asian and French-influenced cuisine, in which beef, fish, rice, and produce from the fertile Mekong River delta are infused with explosive flavors and complex but delicate seasonings.
Owning to this mix, the simple national dish of pho, a rice noodle soup eaten by rich and poor at breakfast and at every other hour of the day, can be almost lyrical. If you’ve only sampled it elsewhere, prepare yourself: The pho you have here will be like nothing you’ve tasted before.
Jump into a pedicab and make your way to Pho Hoa, perhaps the best known of the country’s thousands of noodle restaurants. Pasteur Street is pho heaven, lined with nondescript storefront shops and stalls selling this specialty, but for twenty years Pho Hoa has been considered the best.
The soul of pho is the broth, and an enormous cauldron at the Pho Hoa boils the seasoned and flavorful brew for five hours before your steaming bowl arrives, chock-full of slippery and soft chewy noodles and thin slices of beef or chicken. Go for breakfast so you can come back for lunch and dinner too.