What's inside Saigon pho restaurant celebrated among world's best new eateries

By Bich Phuong   May 18, 2024 | 01:00 am PT
Pot Au Pho in Ho Chi Minh City, known for its innovative pho dishes, is the only Vietnamese restaurant featured in Condé Nast Traveler's 2024 list of the 29 best new restaurants worldwide.

The "Hot List" restaurants are selected annually by culinary experts of the leading American travel magazine. The "Hot List" in 2024 features the 29 best newly opened restaurants in the world from 21 countries.

Pot Au Pho is the only Vietnamese name on this list, specializing in pho but also creating unique dishes with pho flavor.

Tiệm phở Sài Gòn vào top hàng mới mở tốt nhất thế giới

The soup counter at Pot Au Pho. Photo courtesy of Pot Au Pho

Pot Au Pho is located on the third floor in an old building at 89 Ton That Dam Street in District 1, with a modest area with 14 seats.

The outstanding dishes here mentioned by the American magazine are the $100 pho, Phojito pho cocktail, and molecular pho balls.

The molecular pho is where all the flavors of pho are packed into one piece with a jelly-like texture that melts immediately when put in the mouth.

Món viên phở phân tử lạ miệng ở nhà hàng. Ảnh: Pot Au Phở

The molecular pho is served on a spoon. Photo courtesy of Pot Au Pho

Chef Peter Cuong Franklin said that he and the kitchen team and restaurant staff had the guiding principle of cooking for customers, not to win awards.

Recognition from Michelin, the 50 Best Restaurants award, and recently Condé Nast Traveler are the results of the hard work and creativity of a team.

"I feel very proud and happy to have the opportunity to bring a restaurant from Vietnam to the world,"said the chef.

Peter said that traditional pho was loved all over the world, but he dreamed of opening a pho restaurant unlike anyone else decades ago.

He continuously delved deeper into this dish and came up with the idea of turning pho beyond the limits of being a common traditional dish.

Món phở gà được làm mới với phần cuộn gà nướng than làm từ thịt đùi gà ức gà. Ảnh: Pot Au Pho

The chicken pho dish is remade with charcoal-grilled chicken rolls made from chicken thighs and chicken breasts. Photo courtesy of Pot Au Pho

The experience at Pot Au Pho was praised by writer Joshua Zukas, a reporter specializing in Vietnam tourism for American magazine Insider, as a journey.

Zukas enjoyed the $100 pho combo, a meal for two people, including a bowl of pho, a pho cocktail, two molecular pho balls, and a hollow air baguette.

The main star of the meal is a bowl of pho served in a deep stone bowl, containing six types of beef meat, beef marrow, beef balls, and a separate portion of raw wagyu beef.

Unlike a regular bowl of pho, the pho noodles in this $100 meal are kept separate. The set also includes a tray for condiments and a plate for raw egg yolks.

In the combo, there is also a pho cocktail or ‘phojito,’ mixed from the main ingredients that make up the cocktail, combining many herbs and spices to create an aroma like drinking a bowl of pho. The glass of water is decorated with cinnamon sticks, dried star anise, and fresh chili - familiar spices of pho.

In addition to the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City, the magazine's list dating back to 1987 also honors restaurants from world culinary paradises such as Japan, Spainand Italy.

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