Over the years, Pho Hanoi has retained its original flavor and continues to attract many diners from all around the world to savor it.
Hanoi’s pho is a famous dish in Hanoi. The locals here are not sure when it first appeared. With the delicious taste of the broth, the chewy texture of the pho noodles, and the aromatic herbs served alongside, Hanoi’s pho has become something special in the eyes of food enthusiasts.
Introduction to Hanoi Pho
Origin of Hanoi Pho
In the past, people rarely consumed beef. Many believe that pho originated from a dish called “xao trau,” which consisted of a broth poured over rice noodles, topped with stir-fried water buffalo meat.
Around the 20th century, Hanoi had only a few beef stalls, and they were not very popular, especially the beef bones that no one bought. Some xao trau stalls began using beef instead of water buffalo meat, and they simmered the beef bones to make broth. They soon discovered that beef was tender, and beef bones made the broth extremely flavorful. This marked the birth of “xao bo,” which eventually transformed into pho. Gradually, they replaced the rice noodles with rolled rice pancakes (pho noodles), and the dish was renamed “pho.”
The specialty of Hanoi pho appeared in the 1930s, and by 1937-1938, it was widespread. Its golden age was from 1939 to 1942.
From the mid-1960s to the 1990s, Hanoi and many northern provinces introduced “pho without meat” or “driverless pho.” Since the 1990s, pho has become more diverse and is often served with crispy dough sticks.
Differences Between Old and Current Hanoi Pho
How is the preparation of Hanoi pho different now compared to the past? Let’s find out!
Pho in the past was typically sold from street stalls with a strongly flavored broth infused with star anise, cinnamon, simmered beef bones, and various spices. The broth was simmered for about 10 hours, resulting in a rich, fragrant base.
Hanoi’s pho noodles were wider but not too thick to maintain a tender texture. The meat was cooked just right, and it was served with fresh herbs like scallions, cilantro, and sliced onions. The steaming hot broth was poured into the pho bowl, and it was often enjoyed with crispy dough sticks.
Pho vendors used a bamboo pole, with one end holding the pho bowls, plates, chopsticks, and spoons, and the other end carrying a pot of fragrant, steaming broth. The image of the old Hanoi street pho with its captivating aroma is a cherished memory for many.
Today, pho is served in a variety of eateries and restaurants, catering to a wide range of customers, from casual to upscale. In addition to traditional flavors, the pho broth today may also be enhanced with seasoning cubes, MSG, or pre-packaged pho spices.
Star anise, cloves, and cinnamon are sometimes reduced to suit broader palates. The meat in pho has also diversified, with options like stir-fried beef, rare beef, well-done beef, and more. In addition to dough sticks, pho is sometimes enjoyed with poached eggs.
This special dish has left a lasting impression on Vietnamese cuisine and captivated foreign tourists. When visiting Hanoi, you can easily find an old and delicious pho restaurant in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and enjoy a steaming, enticing bowl of pho.
Today, Hanoi pho has gained global recognition and can be found in many countries. In Japan, the United States, Australia, and more, there are numerous Hanoi pho restaurants, established to promote the enticing culinary flavors of Vietnam.
The Flavor of Hanoi Pho & How Hanoians Eat Pho
Hanoi pho leaves an unforgettable mark on culinary traditions, preserving the essence of the nation. Pho is a delicate blend of rich, savory broth, fresh aromatic herbs, fragrant beef or chicken, and various other ingredients.
This dish is best enjoyed piping hot and full of flavor. Many people prefer to add lime, garlic vinegar, and Hanoi pho chili sauce according to their taste preferences.
In addition to enjoying delicious Hanoi pho, choosing a means of transportation for traveling in Vietnam is essential. With the private car rental service with a driver in Hanoi from DanangPrivateCar.com, you can enjoy a spacious and luxurious car, door-to-door service, professional and attentive service, and reasonable fares.
Where to Find the Best Pho in Hanoi? List of Famous Hanoi Pho Addresses
Pho Bat Da Hung Vuong – Authentic Hanoi Pho
- Address: 37A Hung Vuong, Ba Dinh District
- Opening Hours: 06:00 AM – 10:00 AM and 06:00 PM – 08:30 PM
- Price Range: 30,000 – 55,000 VND
This is a well-known spot recommended by many Hanoi pho reviews. It’s the first Bat Da pho restaurant in the capital city, offering a unique traditional flavor.
Pho Bat Dan has been around for over 50 years. During this long period, the pho makers may have changed, but thanks to the traditional recipe passed down through generations, the authentic flavor of Bat Dan’s pho has remained intact. The restaurant is often crowded, and sometimes those who want to eat here have to wait in line.
Pho Bat Dan attracts customers because it retains the traditional clear broth. The broth is the heart of a pho bowl, simmered carefully from beef marrow bones, making it sweeter and more savory. The pho noodles are chewy and not easily broken, while the beef is tender, succulent, and the beef fat is crispy and delicious. One small tip that MIA.vn wants to share with you is that when you visit Pho Bat Dan, it’s best to go with at least two people. One person can reserve a table while the others wait in line to order their pho.
Pho Thin 13 Lo Duc Hanoi
- Address: 13 Lo Duc, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi
- Price Range: From 50,000 VND to 100,000 VND
- Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Pho Thin is a renowned Hanoi pho restaurant with a history spanning over 40 years. It was established by Mr. Nguyen Trong Thin in 1979 and has gained recognition not only in Vietnam but also internationally. Pho Thin has been featured in numerous famous publications such as CNN, Reuters, South China Morning Post, all praising its impressive flavors.
Pho Thin is also one of the oldest pho restaurants in Hanoi, known for its sweet and savory broth made from simmered bones, served with a generous amount of fresh herbs.
Pho Bat Dan – The Top Pho Place in Hanoi
- Address: 49 Bat Dan, Hoan Kiem District
Pho Bat Dan Hanoi is a century-old traditional pho restaurant. It remains popular due to its distinctive Hanoi pho flavor with a fragrant, slightly sweet, and clear broth and carefully selected ingredients.
The flavor of Pho Bat Dan – one of the oldest and unique pho restaurants in Hanoi, features a clear and subtly sweet broth, simmered from bones, served with delicious and tender fresh pho noodles. When you add some spicy and tangy garlic vinegar, the taste becomes incredibly impressive.
Pho Xao Bap Bo Ba Thanh Beo – Unique and Delicious
- Address: 11 Hang Buom, Hoan Kiem District
The restaurant specializing in stir-fried beef with corn has been a part of many generations’ childhoods in Hanoi. Their stir-fried pho has a rich, delicious, and seductive flavor.
Pho Hanh Lan Ong – Pho Ga (Chicken Pho) with Unique Sauce
- Address: 65 Lan Ong Street – Hang Bo Ward – Hoan Kiem District – Hanoi
- Price range: Approximately from 35,000 VND to 60,000 VND
- Opening hours: 18:00 – 23:00
One of the must-visit places for delicious pho in Hanoi is Pho Hanh Lan Ong. Pho Hanh is a pho restaurant chosen by The Culture Trip as a suitable place to enjoy the flavors of Hanoi’s pho.
The distinctive feature of the chicken pho here is the outstanding sauce, which is enjoyed with tender and delicious chicken. Pho Hanh also offers many other delicious and enticing dishes for diners to enjoy, such as shredded chicken salad, chicken feet with drawn bone, embryo eggs, and more.
Pho Suong in the Old Quarter – Address of delicious soft beef pho
- Address: 24B Trung Yen Lane – Hoan Kiem District – Hanoi
- Price range: From 50,000 VND – 70,000 VND
- Opening hours: 5:30 AM – 11:00 AM; 4:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Pho Suong is a long-established pho brand that dates back to the 1930s. It was also recommended by The Culture Trip as a must-visit restaurant in Hanoi.
The most outstanding feature of Pho Suong is its flavorful broth and tender beef. The broth has a long, rich simmered bone flavor, and it has a mildly sweet taste. The beef in Pho Suong is tender and not tough, having been meticulously prepared. This is a characteristic that many pho lovers appreciate.
Pho Ganh Hang Chieu – A Taste of Tradition
- Address: Intersection of Hang Duong and Hang Chieu, Hoan Kiem District
- Price range: Approximately from 40,000 VND to 50,000 VND.
Opening hours: 3:30 AM – 10:00 AM.
The pho at this restaurant is extremely hot and generous. The place is famous for its rich and fragrant wine sauce pho. However, it’s always crowded, so expect a wait to enjoy a delicious bowl of pho.
Pho Gan Hang Chieu starts serving at 3 AM. For travelers who have embarked on an all-night journey to explore Hanoi, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a bowl of Pho Ganh. Pho Ganh encapsulates the nostalgia of the flavors of ancient, traditional Pho and is definitely worth trying.
Pho Duong Tau Hanoi
- Address: 3 Tran Phu, Hoan Kiem District
Pho Duong Tau is a familiar night pho place in the capital. The restaurant, established in 1970, is loved for its steaming hot pho, tender noodles, sweet and soft beef, and traditional, distinct flavor.
Pho Ga Ha Hang Hom – A Must-Try Hanoi Chicken Pho
- Address: 15 Hang Hom, Hoan Kiem District
If you’re looking for delicious Hanoi chicken pho, visit Pho Ga Ha Hang Hom. The local chicken is tender, the chicken pieces are delicious, and the broth is exceptionally sweet. The abundance of fresh herbs and reasonable prices make it a great choice.
Pho 10 Ly Quoc Su Hanoi
- Address: 10 Ly Quoc Su, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
- Price Range: From 50,000 VND to 80,000 VND
- Opening Hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Pho Ly Quoc Su Hanoi is known for its sweet and fragrant broth, simmered from various beef bones. The bowls of pho have a sweet and clear taste, the beef is tender, and they are filled to the brim.
Pho Ly Quoc Su is a Hanoi pho restaurant that was selected by the top newspaper, The Culture Trip, as one of the must-try pho places in Hanoi. What’s more, in 2018, President Moon Jae In of South Korea also chose Pho Ly Quoc Su as his dining destination.
Pho Bung Hang Trong – A Unique Way to Enjoy Hanoi Pho
Address: 8 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem District This restaurant is famous for its captivating flavor, clear pho broth, and thinly sliced beef. When you visit Pho Bung, you’ll discover the culinary heritage of old Hanoi in a nostalgic atmosphere with a traditional taste.
OK Con De – Famous for Delicious Goat and Stone Pot Pho
- Addresses: 03 TT1A Bang Liet, Hoang Mai District, and 75 Dai Co Viet, Hai Ba Trung District
OK Con De is renowned for its delicious goat and stone pot pho. Each piece of goat meat is fragrant and tender, and the hot broth combines for a tantalizing culinary experience.
Pho Thinh – A Must-Try Hanoi Vinegar Pho
- Address: 39 Ton Duc Thang, Dong Da District
Pho Thinh stands out with its sweet-smelling broth, delicious rare beef, and a slightly curry-like flavor. The restaurant is famous for its enticing beef pho, and it also offers a unique vinegar-based pho that’s worth trying.
Pho Ga Quan Thanh – Affordable and Delicious Chicken Pho in Hanoi
Address: 42 Quan Thanh, Ba Dinh District Quan Thanh’s chicken pho is one of the most famous traditional chicken pho places in Hanoi. It’s reasonably priced, with a special taste coming from the bones, tender native chicken, and golden broth.
Ma May – A Unique Mixed Pho Place in Hanoi
- Address: 45 Ma May, Hoan Kiem District
Located in the historic Old Quarter, Ma May mixed pho restaurant is a favorite among food connoisseurs. The carefully selected chicken meat is tender and flavorful. The restaurant mainly uses chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Nguyen Sieu – Beloved Fried Pho in Hanoi
- Address: 10 Nguyen Sieu, Hoan Kiem District
This Hanoi fried pho restaurant offers a unique fried pho dish, which is served with sweet and sour dipping sauce and pickled cucumber salad. The place is quite crowded and only opens in the evening.
Pho 62 Le Trong Tan – A Great Pho Place in Thanh Xuan, Hanoi
- Address: 62 Le Trong Tan, Thanh Xuan District
This pho restaurant has a clean and spacious environment, with quick and polite staff. The pho broth is fragrant with scallions and cilantro, sweet from the bones, and the rare beef is perfectly suited to your taste.
Pho 24H Hanoi
Various Locations in Hanoi
The Pho 24H chain in Hanoi is an ideal stop for those who want to explore Hanoi’s nightlife food scene. The pho is rich in flavor, the meat is generous, and the broth is delicious.
How to Cook Authentic Hanoi-Style Beef Pho
Ingredients for Beef Pho:
- 1.5 kg of beef marrow bones
- 200g of beef sirloin
- 500g of beef meatballs
- Pho noodles
- Shallots, green onions, onions
- Lime, ginger
- Star anise, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, or pho spices
- Rock sugar, sea salt, MSG (optional)
Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients
Wash the beef marrow bones thoroughly. Soak the bones in water for about 30 minutes, adding a little sea salt and lime to reduce the beefy odor. Afterward, blanch the bones in boiling water and rinse them again.
For the onions, wash them and let them drain. Grill the onions over low heat until they become fragrant.
Next, wash the beef sirloin and slice it into thin, bite-sized pieces to place on top of the pho. Chop the shallots finely.
Step 2: Make the Broth
Place the beef bones in a large pot, add 1 liter of water, 1 tablespoon of sea salt, and the grilled onions. Start simmering the broth. If you have a pressure cooker, it can speed up the process.
After simmering the bones for about 30 minutes, add 1.5 liters of water, beef meatballs, and finally, add star anise, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger.
Maintain medium heat and don’t cover the pot. Skim off any impurities that rise to the surface to keep the broth clear and flavorful.
After 30 minutes of simmering, remove the beef bones and aromatic spices from the pot.
Next, season the broth by adding 1 tablespoon of sea salt, 1 tablespoon of rock sugar, 1 tablespoon of MSG (optional), and mix well to dissolve the seasonings.
Step 3: Assemble the Pho
Place some pho noodles in a bowl. Arrange the slices of beef sirloin on top and garnish with chopped green onions. Pour the prepared broth into the bowl, and your delicious beef pho is ready to enjoy!
Savor the fragrant Hanoi-style beef pho with aromatic herbs, sweet and savory broth, and tender, chewy pho noodles. Don’t forget to accompany your pho with fresh herbs and bean sprouts to enhance the delicious flavors!
Hanoi Pho is a famous culinary gift from the ancient Trang An people. This dish embodies the essence of Hanoi’s culinary culture, known for its sophistication and intricacy. The alluring flavor of Hanoi Pho leaves an unforgettable mark, bridging the past with the present, and creating an indelible impression in the hearts of diners.