One dish that everyone associates with Vietnam and for good reason is Pho. It’s by far the most famous dish in Vietnam. For those visiting Vietnam and wanting to try this famous Vietnamese street food, there are a few places that you should go. It’s difficult to narrow down the list to just 5 establishments as there are many great places to eat Pho, but this is a top 5 list and so here goes.
This is a small Pho shop and easy to miss, especially now that it’s been pushed upstairs above the coffee bean, but next time you are shopping at Ben thanh Market then be sure to stop in for the most famous of Vietnam’s street food; Pho. Of course this place is most well known for being the place where Bill Clinton at his first bowl of Pho when he visited Vietnam. But more than that it’s the place where you can still get a mean bowl of Pho. They’re beef stew pho is the best with big tender chunks of beef mixed with carefully stewed carrots, potatoes, and noodles.
As well as having great Pho they also have really good spring rolls, and a nice selection of sweet soups. This is place is popular with both foreigners and Vietnamese and is always crowded with a good mix of people. It’s certainly worth a visit next time your shopping in District 1.
Location: 1-3D Phan Chu Trinh, District 1
Pho Bo Vien Thap Cam – The Street One (only for the adventurous)
This unassuming shop is actually home to one of the best bowls of pho this writer has ever tried. It’s not the cleanest or shiniest of places, and caters almost exclusively to a Vietnamese clientele, but it’s worth a visit if you want your Pho a little off the beaten path. Also it is a clean and well maintained establishment despite its outward appearance with a nice variety of spices and vegetables to go with your Pho. There are several different varieties of Pho available here, but the beef Pho remains the most popular. The Pho has a rich, hearty broth mixed with a large helping of beef and noodles.
It’s located in District 1, though off the main thoroughfares, and it’s a very small Pho shop, so it can be sometimes difficult to find. It’s close to where Le Cong Kieu branches off from Nguyen Thai Binh. From the main tourist centre, it is just south of Ham Nghi, the busy main road starting at Ben Thanh Market. It’s usually got lots of motorbikes parked out front as it’s very popular.
Location: Nguyen Thai Binh, District 1
This is another place that is hugely popular in Saigon. It’s been serving its signature dish for many years and the recipe is a closely guarded family secret passed down from one generation to the next. It’s again a place that is mostly popular with Vietnamese, though now as more foreigners take an interest pho it has become more popular with everyone. They make a very flavourful broth which really enhances the quality of the whole experience. They also serve the Pho with a deep fried bread called Quoy, which goes down great with a big bowl of Pho.
The Shop is not new, but it’s clean and always busy. It’s located near the end of Pasteur Street in District 1, and is open all day.
Location: 260C Pasteur Street, District 1
Pho 24 – The Franchised One
You might as well try some of the Chain Pho houses while you’re on your Saigon street food Pho eating adventure. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not a chain Pho house could rival the likes of a family owned, one of a kind Pho shop like Pho Hoa, and though it’s debatable, it seems that Pho 24 can actually produce a pretty decent bowl of Pho. The name originates from the number of ingredients that go into making their famous Pho dish. Of course there are a variety of dishes, but all have the same delicious broth that makes their Pho so appealing.
There are Pho 24 restaurants all over Saigon, but also all over the world, including places like Australia, America, the Philippines and more. So this is a good place to get introduced to the world of Pho, and if you like they’re Pho, then chances are you can find a restaurant nearby where you live back home, and you can continue to enjoy Pho long after you go back home.
Location: Nguyen Du Street, District 1 (in front of Notre Dame Cathedral)
Pho Thin Ha Noi
If you like the Pho from North Vietnam, and who doesn’t, then you’re in luck, because there is a great place to get Northern Pho in Saigon. This place is located in District 3 near Turtle Lake and is a great place to relax with friends and eat a big bowl of Pho. It’s very popular at lunch time with all of the Vietnamese office workers in that neighbourhood. This is a great place to get acquainted with the northern style of Pho, and eat lunch with the locals.
Location: 170 Nguyễn Đình Chiểu, District 3
There are many, many great places to eat Pho in Saigon and practically every place you go will have something to offer. It’s not only the most popular street food in Vietnam, it’s also the most accessible. But like Hamburgers or pizza, no two Pho’s taste the same. So as you’re going about the city don’t be afraid to dive in and try a variety of different Pho places, starting with the 5 listed above.